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As you know, this year I’m planning (ha ha!) a science-fictiony kind of story for NaNoWriMo. Thus, I’ve been bending my mind towards the future trying to figure out what human life and human technology will be like in the far future. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but last night I had an epiphany. An epiphany about self-driving cars.
    Self-driving cars aren’t, I think, as unexpected as other technologies. We’ve been dreaming of flying cars forever now. I think making them drive themselves is a natural progression. It’s not surprising to think that in the near future electric cars will be ubiquitous, roadways will enable them to be charged wirelessly while in motion, and smart roads will keep track of where all the cars are.  
    One might leap to the conclusion, then, that the great American Road Trip will return. Families will pile into the car and go on long trips. Families can drive to places and interact with each other in ways they never could before. But we all know that the only thing that kept Dad sane during those trips was that he could say, “Martha,  you need to get those kids under control! I’m concentrating, here! And get me a sandwich from the cooler.” 
    I think there’s also a misconception that cars will get smaller and more efficient. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Granted, right now electric and hybrid cars slant towards the small and economic side but I think that’s mostly because bigger vehicles would require larger or more batteries. Once these things have induction charging through the roads, though, the battery becomes less important. Anyway, right now we have two major self-driving cars: the Google koala car and the Tesla Model SD.


    But there are aspects that other people aren’t taking into account. When the self-driving car becomes common then humankind will realize they are now free to do three things:

  • Get Drunk
  • Sleep
  • Have Sex

Think about that. People can now go out and get stupid drunk and still get home without getting a DWI (eventually; it may take a while for enough trust to build up for that to happen). If you wished you could have just ten more minutes of sleep you can now do that on the way to work. Feeling a little randy before the morning meeting? You can now have sex while getting there. Car pools will become a lot more interesting. The question is, do you want to sleep or get jiggy wid it in the back of a Prius? Or a SmartCar? Or a KoalaCar? Would it even be a good idea? Could you see yourself on a road trip with the family and come up next to a Google car? “Look kids, it’s a cute KoalaCar! Just look at… Oh my God! Kids, look away from the KoalaCar! Close your eyes! How in the world could you even do that? They must be double-jointed! I mean, wow… Just look at that. Not you, kids! Look away!”
     Probably not. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Vehicle Of The Future:


    That’s right. The “custom van,” the “make-out van,” the “shag van” will come back in style. Salespeople won’t be selling cars based on horsepower or gas mileage; instead they’ll be sold on the virtue of their groovy side graphics, dry bar capacity, and whether they have a water bed or memory foam mattress installed in the back. Condom dispensers will replace cupholders. Surround sound stereo systems with large screen roll-up LCD TVs will replace the infotainment systems. In truckstops around the nation, old moldy boxes will be opened and bumper stickers that read, “If This Van’s A Rockin’ Don’t Come A Knockin’” will fly off the shelves like a flock of startled pigeons. 
    That’s the good news. There will be some negative effects, though. I think the general idea is to take vehicle ownership away from the individual and use them as ‘on-demand’ taxis. This will work for some people, but not folks that don’t want to share a mattress.
    Since the cars will be self-driving and smart traffic will decrease. Extremely friendly carpools will also bring down the amount of vehicles on the road which will also bring down the amount of traffic. Commuting times will hit an all time low. This will be good for men. They will jump out of their cars, tuck in their shirt tails, and be a lot more relaxed at work.
    Women, on the other hand, will become more aggravated. While the guys stand around talking about fantasy football and World of Warcraft raids, the ladies will be gathered around that back table holding their thumb and forefingers together and hissing, “I was this close!”
It wouldn’t surprise me if cars continued to grow to the point where we’ll all be driving around in RV-type vehicles, lounging in Laz-E-Boys and drinking fresh brewed coffee while on the way to work.

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