I want one of these…

Since I was a little tyke, I always thought Jetsons style self-driving cars (shaped like little flying saucers, of course) were the way of the future. Everyone wants to be texting, talking on the phone, shaving, make-upping, teleconferencing, writing papers, etc. while getting where they’re going, because we all live in a crazy, hyper-busy world. This works out decently for those of us with public transportation to get where we’re going, but let’s face it: a car can be more convenient (anyone who’s ridden the B-line or any city bus knows this one to be all too true). But, multi-tasking in a car is way dangerous, right? And it’s a huge drag to get stuck in traffic, right? Add to that the inherent risks to automobile travel (I’m always telling Claire that there’s a lot less to be afraid of in a plane than in a car; but I do get it that statistics alone don’t make it less scary–but I digress), the pollution of standard autos, and the noise, noise, noise! and it just seems like getting rid of, or at least changing the automobile is a good  idea.

As I was saying, when I was a young buck of but 12-years-old, I thought that if we had cars drive themselves, and communicate with eachother, no one would ever get in an accident (barring some communication problems or other disaster – but we have those risks already, right?). You’d never have to stop at a stop light, because all the cars would just “thread the needle” between one another. No more rush hour traffic delays, a lot fewer accidents, and a lot more efficiency (how much less efficient is it to be stopped at a stop light? 100% wasted gas, man). All we need is cars smart enough to do this.

Given that these cars don’t currently exist (or do they? wait for it…), like any good environmentalist, traffic-hating, cheapo, city-dwelling graduate-student-with-a-commute would do, I started biking to work. Biking makes you see cars much differently. As you bike alongside them with your 165 lbs. body and 20 lbs. bike, you realize that they’re really, really heavy. And because of all that weight, they’re scary, loud, and they make people drive like idiots. If only everyone rode their bikes…

Enter GM’s brilliant, idealistic (I knew someone older/more equipped to do something with it than 12-year-old me had to have the same) idea: the EN-V.

This is practically the Jetsons vehicle I was talking about. Can you imagine an entire city filled with people driving these things? Not only is it hilariously like the visions of the year 2000 of the 1950s, it’s a totally awesome picture. A bunch of zero-emissions (read: much quieter and much nicer smelling), small, single-person vehicles zooming around with people doing their make-up in a teleconference while spilling their coffee (cars can’t fix clumsiness) on their way to work? That is my 12-year-old dream come true.

Best of luck to GM with this one. Cities need to get on board, making charging stations and even designated lanes. But if they do, the future is one step closer.

Edit: There are tons of other sweet vehicle ideas like this one. I just hope people (with  more  money than me; I’ll be sticking with my bike until I have far more disposable income) can be persuaded to adopt this kind of thing…

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~ by gsazama on April 13, 2010.

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