Sun rise on self driving cars

Self-Driving Cars – Reading or Partying?

Take your eyes off the road, remove your hands from the 10 to 2 position, stop checking your mirrors and forget how to parallel park – self driving cars are on the way! Do they have the features you want?

A Carnegie Mellon University(CMU) College of Engineering’s surveyed 1000 people and found a big difference between how young and old would use the down time. Young people many of whom have yet to take their driving test, want to party with friends in self-driving cars of the future, while older generations will instead be using their hands-free time to enjoy a fast paced novella (try this bewitchingly ironic suggestion on

The self driving Chinese dumpling

This dumpling shaped thing is in fact a car. No steering wheel and cute features for sending kids on the school run on their own.

There are though many features all of us desire regardless of lifestyle or age. Most popular with respondents to the CMU study was found to be;

  1. Self-adjusting performance based on weather conditions
  2. Automatic parking to find a space
  3. Driver fatigue warning
  4. TV or computer in the dashboard
  5. Visual display of car safety features (sounds like bridge on the Enterprise)
  6. Virtual valet to avoid the rain
  7. Voice command for the visually impaired

The survey notes that while “self-adjusting performance based on weather conditions” is a top choice for all ages groups, it ranks better for those aged 36 to 70.

Self Driving Cars for Parking

Some people are great at parking, others not so hot, but hardly anyone actually enjoys it.

All ages groups want self-driving cars that can automatically find a parking space but when it comes to a TV or computer in the dashboard, automatic valeting so you don’t have to walk in the rain and an active visual display of car safety features, 18 to 24 year olds want these options much more than other age groups.

Interestingly young people are also more likely to work in their self-driving car with 37% of those under 35 opting to have their cars designed as an office. Christmas parties would certainly be fun :)

Only 8% of people want a coffee maker in their self-driving car. This is probably because you can already get a really nifty in-car expresso maker. 25-35 year olds are clearly the most sensible age group with Netflix, movies and makeup topping their list of in car activities.

Also distinct between new drivers and old is how they perceive safety enhancements of self-driving cars. 46 to 70 consider it will make; night driving, driving unfamiliar roads and navigating congested roads safer. Whereas people under 35 think daytime driving and taxis would be made safer.

Did someone say virtual display?

Will your car interior be this plush? Not much compares to the deck of the USS Enterprise but cars are catching up. Virtual display, anyone? What is a virtual display anyway?

CMU is famous for being the creators of the first autonomous vehicle technology (self driving cars) and have been commercialising the technology since the 1980s. The respondents to the survey were told that a self-driving car was defined as ‘having sensors and computing technology that allows the car to safely travel without a driver controlling the steering wheel, gas and brake pedal. The vehicle would automatically move at safe speeds, keep a safe distance from surrounding cars, change traffic lanes, obey traffic signals and follow GPS directions to destinations’

What are you most looking forward getting up to in the back seat of your future self driving car? :-D Would you even have seats? If a hammock and Ed McBain murder mystery doesn’t tickle your fancy perhaps a DJ booth or some five-a-side nets is more your style? I think a self-driving convertible with hot tub and a large inflatable would be great fun on the right roads :-)

Not long now before self-driving cars make it on to UK roads. Will be a while before you don’t have to use your hands and can start hosting business meetings / parties in the back though.

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