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Future Without a Wheel, Pt. 2

Let’s dream of a future, shall we? A future where we have autonomous cars on the interstates. But, because of safety regulations in the US, non-autonomous cars (or driver’s cars) are forbidden on the interstates. So, drivers may use the highways. The highway system is maintained by each state’s museum system, and used by enthusiasts, collectors, and tour companies regularly.

... And we’re back. Nice dream. But so unlikely. Look at the creation of the car. How many “Horse-enthusiasts” were fearing the survival of Horses-and-Coffee? Did they really understand that one day horses would not be welcome on roads they used alongside their mechanical brethren?

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Horses still exist of course. But let’s move this analogy along. Once, the Horse was King. Ruler of simple transportation of goods and people, and of entertainment for the masses. But, that title has be taken. The Car is King. And has been for over a hundred years. And yet, the current champion has a new usurper in its own ranks. The Autonomous Car. (Internal Combustion v. Electricity is a whole other battle.)

Soon, cars once considered the pinnacle of safety will become “Lethal Mobility Devices”, or some other bureaucratic bs. We will have to get 3 licenses and 2 years of supervised training to drive said machine in a parade once a year, so as to not accidentally swerve, do a donut, and murder 7 pedestrians.

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Surely our descendants will understand that the Mustang C&C meme was just a joke? Most of society can drive reasonably without killing more than 3 living things a year. But, with computer controlled transportation, the misconception of perfection would inevitably mean the end of all ‘unpredictable’ driving cars.

End, not death. Horses weren’t exterminated after the reign of the car became apparent. They instead took up a niche market in the entertainment business. And I think our collectable cars will follow this path. Just like horse racing, race cars with real drivers will endure. F1 will still exist in 50 years. (And Bernie Ecclestone will still be the CEO because the Devil needs an advocate.) What about the camps that use horses for therapy? I’d 110% sign up for a therapy session riding shotgun in a Miata around VIR. It could work.

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So, the car we know will prevail. But it could be made obsolete in its original function: Transportation. We can probably deduce that driver’s cars will not be allowed on the same roads as driverless cars someday. What else can the driver’s car do then, but be a shining example of 20th century invention? Actually, just that. How many people are buying records instead of CDs today? Or mechanical keyboards? Or old game systems? The younger crowd is a “retro is cool” kind of group, which can be the saving grace of car culture. This generation will be the ones making the rules when car culture is on the brink. And thanks to them, we may be saved.

So what do we do? Do we start hiding cars in a warehouse, telling our dearest love ones that it’s merely a drug lab? Do we aggressively bite any liberal-smacktalking-millenial who thinks a clutch is for weenies? No, probably not safe. Or sanitary. I’d say just go out and drive. And run down a few millennials in that mustang. You know you wanna.

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