Self-driving cars will likely be big autonomous mobile home theaters.
One of the biggest debates about self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles (AVs), is whether they will be shared or privately owned. Many claim that they will be shared, given that there is no reason to own one when you can just call one up when needed. I have always thought that this was a silly argument, like saying nobody is going to build a media room or buy their own expensive big-screen TV that is only used for a few hours each day when they can go to the movie theatre. In fact, I thought that self-driving cars would actually essentially become private mobile autonomous home theatres.
That's why I was so excited about this new Hertz rental in the UK. They converted minivans into "cinema cars" and I believe that they may well be the model for self-driving cars of the future. Hertz tells us:
Six bespoke Ford Galaxy MPVs have been transformed by our team of top designers. Gone are the middle-row seats, in comes cinema-style seating, vast legroom, a huge screen and a state-of-the-art sound system. And best of all, no one will shush you for daring to rustle your popcorn.
These cars are not self-driving, but it is still likely the way self-driving cars will be designed. Just as Google subsidiary Waymo went from building cute and tiny little Firefly cars to converting big Chrysler Pacificas, the future AV will be big and comfy. The designer is quoted in the Hertz press release:
It’s been a fun job,” says Ian, whose favourite feature is the ambient lighting, which – when the black-out blinds are lowered – fills the cabin-turned-cinema with a soft glow, creating a perfect movie-watching environment.
This is our future of self-driving cars: Big moving rooms that pick the kids up from school and keep them entertained.
Years ago, Steven M. Johnson thought the self-driving car would be like a mobile den, but that big screen in the Hertz version helps pass the time.