We frequently talk about teaching our daughter how to drive. She’s 10, so the reality of that is still a few years off (thank goodness!), but I recently found myself wondering how necessary it would be for her to learn this skill?
Of course, much of that will likely depend on what she decides to do and where she decides to live.
I’ve lived in some U.S. cities where mass transit was such that owning a car was completely unnecessary. Add to that, many downtown areas have everything you need within a walkable radius.
For urbanites who do own a vehicle, paying to park and/or losing a parking space when they leave and having to search for another upon return can be expensive and time consuming.
These days, when I visit places like Chicago, Philadelphia or Seattle, I get a temporary CTA, SEPTA or ORCA pass rather than a rental car. I can easily get everywhere I need and/or want to go and I don’t have to worry about navigating traffic in unfamiliar areas or finding parking in otherwise crowded places.
If I find it necessary to reach my destination at a time that isn’t conducive to the train and/or bus schedule, there is always Uber, Lyft or any of the other up and coming ride sharing apps.
Then, of course, we have the advent of the self-driving car.
Depending on who you ask, advancement of the self-driving car could be such that my daughter’s first car could be autonomous. According to Jamie Condliffe, associate editor of news and commentary for MIT Technology Review, we will see autonomous vehicles skirting U.S. highways and byways by 2021.
Others have a more conservative approach to this timeline.
As engineering and technology reporter with Automotive News, Richard Truett, points out, software must first be perfected and our infrastructure will need to be improved/adapted. Both things take time.
“The obstacles to perfecting and mass producing fully automated vehicles that can safely transport a passenger door-to-door with no human intervention are formidable: sensing equipment such as cameras, lidar and radar, has to get more efficient, especially in inclement weather. It also must get less expensive,” Truett writes.
Whether truly autonomous cars are right around the corner or a bit farther in our future, strides are made every day.
So, again, I find myself wondering, will we have to teach our daughter how to drive?