In its place we will see a more efficient mode of transportation, one that doesn’t sit in a garage or get parked on the street for 85-percent of the time, one that is mostly autonomous and will come to us when we call. Is that Apple’s car of the future? I think it is and I hope it’s not.
My case and perspective on driving a vehicle is not unique, probably common, and possibly set to ride off into the sunset as a relic from the 20th century. I like to drive cars. Whenever I travel I always rent a car I don’t have, a car I wouldn’t be able to afford, or something different and special.
Why? I like cars. I like to drive. Alas, humankind has a problem with natural resources and population growth means cars in major metropolitan areas are causing more problems than they solve. Enter the semi-autonomous vehicle of the future. Apple’s vehicle. The self-driving car that we summon to use, instead of buying, owning, and keep in the garage.
Everyone knows Apple is working on a car, but what kind? I hope its not like this IBM Watson-powered mini-bus.
Instead of walking to the nearest bus stop, just pop up an app on your iPhone and summon the vehicle you need to get you where you want to go. For a price. The autonomous vehicle shows up, you step inside, relax, read, chat with friends or co-workers, and a little while later you’re at your destination and the aforementioned IBM Watson mini-bus heads down the street to pick up someone else.
Is that where we’re going? Is that why Uber has the most ridiculous valuation of any company losing money faster than a politician loses credibility (only when they speak)?
What of Apple car? Will it look and perform similar to a futuristic design from Mercedes?
Many of these futuristic vehicles have a common theme. There’s a steering wheel, yes, but the seats face inward, as opposed to facing the dashboard and front window. That model varies somewhat from the IBM Watch mini-bus but the autonomous nature remains the same. At some point in the future will all or most cars be self-driving? Instead of owning a car, will we summon a car to take us where we wish to go?
Unfortunately, the handwriting appears to be on the wall. Self-driving means autonomous. The car drives us. We don’t drive the car. That is a huge change in how humans transport themselves. Sure, we humans don’t drive buses, subways, airliners, cruise ships, or other public conveyances, but cars are different. They’re modern day versions of the horse. We are– mostly– in control of the transport mode. Autonomous, self-driving cars that are summoned to take us to a destination take away that next-to-last element of transport control (the other being walking) we’ve had for centuries.
Is this what Apple is working on? Unfortunately, I fear that’s the case. As long as I have the option to purchase, lease, and drive the vehicle myself, I want one.