Self-Driving Acura

Progressivism: A Prime... James Ostrowski Best Price: $10.84 Buy New $3.99 (as of 05:30 EDT - Details) This is me driving a 2015 Acura TLX. Actually, it’s the Acura TLX driving me. The car (and other Acuras, including the new MDX) has a “steering assist” feature that uses cameras to keep the thing in its lane – more accurately, in between the yellow line to your left and the white line to your right – without you doing anything. Cameras “see” the painted lines – and electric motors steer the car.

Neat, certainly.

But is it a good idea?

I think it’s an awful idea. For two reasons.

One, though touted as a way to make driving “safer” (god, that word) such self-driving technology necessarily encourages passive/inattentive driving. Why pay attention when the car is – hopefully – doing it for you? It’s interesting that people demand ever-more-onerous punishments for people who text while driving on the basis that they aren’t paying attention to their driving. Yet here we have a technology that will give people free reign to do exactly that. Meguiaru2019s G17516 U... Best Price: $8.93 Buy New $9.73 (as of 12:55 EDT - Details)

And what happens when the car makes a mistake? Which it will. Only god (so they say) is infallible. Machines – computers – have yet to make the cut. Would you trust Microsoft with your life? On cruise control at 75 MPH? Well, bubba, that’s exactly what’s in the pipeline. And the part that’s hardest to choke down is that we’ll all be carried along by this evil electronic rip tide. Just like sail fawns – which went from being a curious toy that rich people used to flout the fact that they were rich (or at least, looked like they might be) to the ubiquitous annoyances of modern life that most people have no choice but to deal with (and pay for!) because, well, most people bought in. Most people seem to be dazzled by gadgets in the same way that seagulls are by a piece of tinfoil.

Only the few, the proud – the cheap (like me) have dodged the idiocy of sail fawns that do almost everything except make calls. At least, they don’t make them nearly as well as my $12 wall phone.

But I digress.

First (as now) autonomous driving technology will be a high-end-car-only gadget. Then, gradually, it will filter down to bread-and-butter cars (as GPS has, as heated seats have). It will become a de factopart of the standard equipment package – just like ABS has become. A few years will pass.

Then, it will be made mandatory.

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