Fascinated by how fast the world around us is changing, I recently got a glimpse into a harbinger of the future when I rode a driverless car.
With trepidation, I stepped into a driverless car at the Hall Office Park in Frisco, Texas. The service works in the area surrounding the office park, including The Star. In an experimental phase, one of the only driverless car systems in the world, I wanted to see how this new technology worked in action. I was throttled because I hadn’t downloaded the app.
Spotting the driverless car as it passed me, it looks like an ordinary orange mini-van with a barely unnoticeable camera on its roof. Along the route there are signs that demark Drive AI pick-up sites. I saw the signs but did not know how to stop the car to pick me up, finally figuring out access is through an app on a smartphone. I couldn’t waive down the driver … there was none.
Downloading the app was simple enough. I logged in. Voila! I had access to the system. Still you can’t gain access to the full details if you are outside the zone where the driverless cars operate, known as the “geofence.” Once inside the geofence, you can order up a car and tell it where to take you…but you have to log in using an email from one of the businesses in the Hall Office Park. So, you’ll have to get a business in the Park to let you be its guest. Once you manage to log in, the system automatically knows your location in the geofence for pick up.
The Drive AI system is also in use in Arlington, Texas, if the Frisco experiment dies. It will certainly be coming to more and more places with time. Google Drive AI for the latest information.
Eventually, this system, or something similar, will be the norm, I feel certain. Change your mindset. Your car will be worthless soon, except, perhaps, as an antique dinosaur. According to futurists, soon people will ride-share (like Uber) and travel by driverless cars. Gone will be the need for you to buy gas, change the oil or get repairs. Many of the emerging technologies eliminate reliance on fossil fuels, using electric or even more exotic power systems. Water-based energy generating systems, as well as hydrogen and nuclear systems, are in development. Although their future is far away, the driverless car, on the other hand, is nearly ready to roll.