Smarter Cars


It’s the year 2015… a year that seemed to be the distant future when I was a kid. We partied like it’s 1999. We survived The End Of The World As We Know It™ in 2000. We made it!

We’re living in the future! We have smart phones, smart TVs, smart appliances. So… why hasn’t my car smartened up?

Flying

Remember George Jetson’s flying car that conveniently folded up into a briefcase? Where’s my flying car? My morning commute is still trapped in very two-dimensional gridlock.

Sorry, Avery Brooks. 15 years into the 21st century, those flying cars you were promised still haven’t arrived.

Fossil Friendly Fuels

Do you own a Tesla Roadster or a Model S? Me neither, even though I’d love to.

Roadster 2.5 windmills trimmed
I’ll take one. By Roadster_2.5_windmills.jpg: Tesla Motors Inc. derivative work: Mariordo (Roadster_2.5_windmills.jpg) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons
My car still runs on gasoline. Thankfully, that gasoline no longer contains lead additives as it did in my childhood. Most of the gasoline here is E10, containing up to 10% ethanol. But it’s still gasoline.

Freeloading

My car spends roughly 90% of its time parked, doing nothing. In terms of utilization, this is ridiculous. Even a horse would graze. My car doesn’t fuel itself up.

I feel pretty. Oh so pretty.
…and it fertilizes the lawn. By Gord Webster [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
We’re on the cusp of having self-driving cars, and that’s a good start. My self-driving car could sign itself up as an Uber driver and earn some money on the side. After all, it lives in my driveway; it should be paying me rent.

Sure, some cars in the futuristic year 2015 have GPS, rear backup sensors, automatic braking, and so forth. But it would be much nicer if my self-driving, flying, electric car would also meet me at the front door of my office building on rainy days.

And turn on the heater on chilly December mornings while I’m indoors eating breakfast.

And give me a heads-up that I’ve been driving for hours, and it’s past lunchtime, and oh, by the way, there’s an amazing deep dish pizza restaurant just three exits up the road.

Smarten up, car. Smarten up.

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