As the designer of Futurama, the most popular exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Bel Geddes promised “you’re grandchildren will snap across the entire continent in 24 hours on a new kind of highway and in a new kind of driver-less car that is controlled by the push of a button.” That was in 1940 and in many ways inspired the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Seventy years later the stuff of science fiction is becoming the things in our reality.
Driver-less cars are now upon us with the help of newer mobile multiple monitor systems already making headway into our lives. Consumers today can buy cars that can steer themselves, accelerate and brake to maintain a safe driving distance from cars ahead, and detect and avoid collisions with other cars on all sides. This new breed of automobiles are already on the market today and will become increasingly available in 2010 and so on.
It’s not unusual to be sriving down the road and notice a SUV or Minivan with two TV’s inside. Even Hyundai Elantra’s will have in-dash navigation screens this year. With some GPS screens and rear view screens, multi LCD screens will be in the cabin of most newer vehicles moving forward.
So how can we justify such selfish indulgences with no regard to safety?
Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and author of “Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It,” wrote an article published in The Wall Street Journal called “Taking the Driver Out of the Car,” in which he describes that driverless cars would be the most economical solution to many of our costly road upkeep over investments in railways and transit buses which other countries such as France and Japan champion. The average American travels 10 times as many miles on the interstates as the average French or Japanese.
Another idea is that the technology to have cars that drive themselves. This technology has been available to us for a long time now. In today’s advance technoholic realm auto manufacturers are scrambling to be the best. Volkswagen says with their enhanced global positional systems, they can keep cars within two centimeters of their desired location on streets and highways. This summer, the German auto manufacturer will demonstrate its awesome technology by running a driver-less Audi at racing speeds up a twisty mountain peak road and once again, at racing speeds.
Modern cars already have numerous built-in computers that do things like anti-lock braking far more reliable than humans, especially those who are texting or inebriated. Because computer reaction times are faster, a driver-less cars can safely operate more closely together, potentially tripling highway throughput, and could virtually eliminate congestion and reduce the need for new road construction.
So what does that have to do with a multi display unit in your car? If you think about it, there may already at least dual monitors in your cockpit e.g. GPS, TV, rear view monitors, auto diagnostics, etc. . It wouldn’t take long to need an extra computer monitor or two.