Google's driverless revolution can't come soon enough for ADRIAN LOWERY
Fast forward forty years and our grandchildren will be watching the episodes of Top Gear that are currently being filmed with a combination of hilarity and disbelief.
They'll be laughing not with the show for if it was ever funny, it was for a couple of brief moments in 2004 but very much at it. Ashamed but also tickled by its freakish antiquity, as we are by excruciating 1970s sitcoms.
'Fancy, only in 2016 people thought cars and driving were actually a good idea! And the BBC was still spending money on this dross making them out to be something exciting and sexy!! God, what were they on, hahahahaha!'
Dangerous delusion: Top Gear in decades to come will be recognised as farcical and preposterous, while any man who finds himself on a bus reading a book will consider himself a success.
Because our grandchildren will be cleverer than us. If they are not brought up in a society that has fully realised the staggering folly of the motor car, then it will be in one where the awful realisation is dawning.
A society where one of the two factors that allowed car travel and roads to inflict a hundred year blight on modern life has been removed. The driver.
Motoring 'experts' reckon the driverless car will have pretty much pandora bracelet & charms taken over by 2040and fully in an elevated form by 2050. Well I'm hoping they are proven wrong, and it's thirty years earlier.
The idea of being ferried from pub to restaurant by a cheap chauffeur that you don't have to talk to sounds to me like heaven.
And because otherwise my life will have been lived completely in the shadow of the miserable, noisy, congested, dangerous mess that motorised traffic made in this and every other country since it was allowed to become so calamitously popular in the 1960s.
We have since become conditioned to think that driving is essential to modern living, when in fact it is destructive and selfish (how appropriate for an age in which selfishness has been refined to a virtue). It is massively under priced in terms of the real costs it inflicts on society, just as public transport is massively over priced (and under resourced).
If you were to include in the price of driving the costs of congestion, pollution, noise, environmental damage, threat to life and limb, inconvenience and danger to the pedestrian and the ripping apart of communities that road transport involves then car travel would be prohibitively expensive, and rightly so.
Idiocy: If policymakers in the 1960s could see the current mess of car travel, transport policy would have evolved in a totally different direction price pandora bracelet now our hopes are pinned on driverless electric cars.
No one should ever have been allowed to think that it was their god given right to drive anywhere they wanted at any time and clog up towns and streets and lanes with roaring, fume belching machines. Or given the means to do so.
In any sane world private car use would have been taxed into the niche luxury bracket decades ago, and the road network would have remained pretty much as it was in 1960. Money would have been poured instead into trains, buses, trams and other mass transit options, as well as a cycling infrastructure.
If you could go back to 1960 and show the mess we have now towns ruined by road building, villages blighted by heavy goods traffic, children ferried a few hundred yards to school, in snaking queues of cars, because the same cars are regularly responsible for killing and injuring children who might want to walk to school to any policymaker, of right or left, and they would be appalled.
Even Harold Wilson, whose noxious obsession with technology and 'progress' was responsible for building swathes of inhuman ugliness across our beautiful land, even he would not have fed the monster. Beeching would never have been let anywhere near our rail network (and yes I know it was Macmillan not Wilson who commissioned him).
Blinded by 'the white heat of technology': Prime minster Harold Wilson and Dr Richard Beeching both sat, appropriately, in cars.
I sometimes think I'm the only person who quite enjoys not sitting in a metal cage in a jam of other metal cages. All operated by people so disillusioned and resentful that it exposes with excruciating bathos the motor's founding myth independence, freedom, adventure for what it was and is. A lie.
I often contemplate that odious quote, which may or may not have been coined by Margaret Thatcher, that any man beyond the age of 26 to find himself on a bus can consider himself a failure, as I gaze down from the top deck of the No.9.
At the stationary cars tailed back, one person in each, as we whizz up the bus lane, forty people reading their books and catching up on emails.
The developed world's decision to base society around the motor car was the great idiocy of the twentieth century. And the only shame about the driverless revolution and electrically powered vehicles, is that rather than spelling the end of it, they will prolong it.
In its current filthy, dangerous, street clogging, life degrading, resource hungry incarnation the car's days would surely be numbered: if it is cleaned up then it's probably here to stay.
Then the only hope is that the scales fall from mankind's eyes: impossible for this oafish generation but possible for our enlightened grandchildren? One can only hope.
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