Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We Rode a Driverless Bus

We had this random adventure back in the early fall, but the kids are still talking about it.

To be fair, it WAS pretty weird.

For two entire days, our hometown blocked off its main street downtown so that citizens could sign up for free tickets and ride a driverless bus.

Why? I do not know why city government does the things that it does. I just get on the bus!

The driverless bus was smaller than I thought that it would be--

--so its benefit isn't that it holds a lot of people; I think that there was maybe room for a dozen on this bus?

It only has seats for six of these people, if you squish--

--so its benefit isn't really that you can sit down while you get where you're going, because like as not you're going to be standing.

It also drove reeeaaaaally slowly, as in a brisk walking pace, so you're not going to use it to get where you're going any faster.

It could navigate around obstacles--

--but it apparently always has a driver on board who can manually operate the bus in case of emergencies, so you're not really saving money by employing fewer people if you use it.

It WAS super cool to ride in--I mean obviously, it was a driverless bus!!!--but I couldn't really work out its usefulness. I guess if you put it in an area where there's mostly foot traffic, with its own lane, like in a tourist area, you could save people some walking, but if a bus only holds twelve people, you're not really benefiting that many people, unless you had a whole fleet of them in constant operation. Same if you used it on our university campus, where there is lots of distance between buildings, but again, our local campus has an enrollment of over 48,000 students, so ferrying them around by the dozens doesn't feel feasible.

Ah, well. In 80 years, when my children are on the holo-talk circuit showing off their vintage digital pics of them test-riding the world's first driverless buses, I'm sure they'll laugh at how naive my doubts were. 

Because the buses will be flying by then, of course. Or utilizing warp zones. THAT would be efficient!

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