Google is now in the process of making driver-less cars. It has been reported that these cars don’t have steering wheels or brakes but they do have a panic button. Yes, its true. That makes sense; why would we need an option of steering or braking? I’m sure nothing could ever malfunction, right? I’m sure this thing will be the first device in human history to work exactly as planned and never break down in any way. Yeah. So…..when something does malfunction or someone bumps me on the highway and I am spinning in circles or careening out of control into oncoming traffic, with rivers of sweat streaming down my face, I guess Google thinks the best option would be to panic helplessly and press a button instead of doing something to save my own life and keep me from driving over the cliff. Does the car also have a black box? That way, when they recover my body, they can check the recording and hear me screaming and crying. Then they will look at the data and say, “But look, he properly utilized the panic button.” And of course, it’s probably a button like at crosswalks….you know….they don’t actually do anything.
Maybe Google’s way of fixing car problems will be like their website update process. They won’t ever talk to anyone. They will just gather lots of data from the (in the case of the car) panic button black box, and then figure out what alterations to make to the driving algorithms in the future. For example, if a high percentage of people hit the panic button as their cars are spinning in circles on the wet highway, then that will be something Google looks into fixing first. If a low percentage of people hit the panic button because, lets guess, that the car might be perpendicular parking itself instead of parallel parking itself, then that malfunction’s fix will be put off until the panic button frequency increases to a higher level. Of course, not many people will hit the panic button for perpendicular parking, so it could be a long time until that issue is fixed, unless the cars all suddenly decide to randomly perpendicular park on the freeway. If that happens, I think the panic button will come in very handy as opposed to a steering wheel.
Speaking of one’s demise, I’ll never know about mine, since I won’t even know about any panic button usage issues as I will be sleeping off a drunken night out as the car takes me home. Can the police arrest you for drunk driving if the car is doing the driving and you are sleeping? Maybe the law will require you be awake and sober so you can press the panic button. Actually, I can’t imagine ever NOT napping while the car takes you from place to place.
I also read that there is a spinning device on the roof that is a laser range finder. This made me wonder, if a bird craps on the laser range finder, do you wake up in Mexico? I guess that’s the other use for the panic button. Lastly, I wonder if, being a Google car, the car takes you via the directions that Google Maps gives it? So it will take the highway that’s 20 miles out of the way, make you drive down the most crowded roads, and wind you through the most dangerous neighborhoods surrounded by drug dealers and gang members while you sleep. I can’t wait for this new technology.