I was surprised to hear that Google has unveiled a prototype for a driverless car.
Having watched people shave, text and eat a breakfast burrito while doing 75 mph on Interstate 71, I thought a lot of cars were already driverless.
But the Google cars are different. They have no steering wheels.
Basically, you program a destination, then sit back while the car transports you.
I can see this taking some of the romance out of car songs: “Baby You Can Sit in My Car While It Drives Itself” might not have been a hit, even for the Beatles.
Let’s assume that the driverless car really does become a dominant form of transportation. Will that change human behavior? Of course not. People will still be people. That is why I envision these news stories from the coming era of the driverless car:
•Car drives itself to New Mexico after cat walks across keyboard
An Ohio man unaware that his cat had climbed into his driverless car has found the vehicle — and the cat — 1,500 miles away in Albuquerque, N.M.
“All I can figure is she inadvertently punched in a destination on the onboard computer, and the thing took off,” he said. “Although, I do find it surprising that she stopped for gas in Terre Haute.”
•Driverless cars fail to cure bad habit
Police say motorists are programming their driverless cars not to use turn signals.
“In a way, it’s not surprising,” a spokesman said. “They never used them before. Why start now?”
•Police warn of new online danger
A security breach is allowing hackers to remotely steal driverless cars, the FBI says.
“People wake up, look out the window and see their car drive away on its own,” a spokesman said. “Of course, most of those people use the car password 1-2-3-4-5.”
In a variation on the crime, unethical real-estate salesmen reprogram cars while the owners are traveling in them, he said.
“They highjack the cars to Florida, where the passengers are forced to listen to sales pitches for vacation time-shares in exchange for their freedom.”
•Car vs. bicycle wars continue
The owners of driverless cars are complaining that their vehicles overheat in the presence of driverless bicycles.
“I’ve seen the temperature shoot up 50 degrees when we’re stuck behind a cyclist in the right lane,” said one owner.
“It’s as if the car is enraged. And it really gets hot when a driverless bicycle ignores a red light or jumps onto a sidewalk to avoid a traffic jam.”
Driverless bicycle riders say they’re simply exercising their lawful right to use the roads to infuriate people in cars.