I recently took the Amtrak train to Chicago and back home to Detroit from the recent FABTECH Show. Although about a 6-hour trip for me, the train is extremely attractive for numerous reasons: 1) the station is less than a mile from my house; 2) I don't have to worry about the number of bags I carry or passing through security checks; and 3) I can spread out across the seats and work on my laptop in total comfort.
On the ride out, which began at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning, I found myself working furiously for about four hours. Part of that work was researching autonomous driving for an upcoming project, which got me to thinking. Basically, the train was providing me an autonomous driving experience. Granted, I couldn't re-direct where I was traveling, but I could accomplish numerous other tasks while the navigation and driving was in someone else's hands.
Much of what I read about autonomous driving is focused on safety, but much also seems to hint that we will have a more relaxed driving experience. Ha! Not if you tend to be a workaholic type like me. I will feel that I have to leverage that time to accomplish more, more more! Gone will be the time when I drive for two hours to a client, clearing my head by hitting the open road and simply enjoying the driving experience. Yes, of course, I have to concentrate and pay attention to the road, but there is something creative that is unleashed when I'm not staring at my computer screen.
I'm afraid that this advance in technology will be one more way that I can be even more efficient! Now I can keep my face glued to my computer screen and continue to be totally connected while my vehicle gently takes me to my destination. I am not ready! I need the excuse of having to drive and pay attention to the road so that I don't talk, text, tweet, type or whatever. I enjoy this break from the frenzy of everyday life.
Now I'm sure that as I age there will be a day that I will be grateful that my world can continue to remain larger than my home. Even as my faculties may fade, my self-driving vehicle can safely transport me to commune with other people and other activities. But, for now I am just not ready for that, which makes me sound like a Luddite. I know that I will need to learn to adapt, to relax in the cradle of this new-world technology. I best start working on that now.