Autonomous Automobiles Drive or Be Driven?
By Lucinda Lewis
As a society, we should ponder new rules of the road for self-driving cars. The human quest to invent new ways to travel is at a crossroads. Shall we swipe right or left? Shall we drive into the future or be driven? In short, who, why, and what is driving the innovators of our motoring future? What is our destination?
A Quora member recently asked what is the impact of self-driving cars on society? Apologies, Bruce Preston, for the delay in answering your question. Your question posted while I was deeply immersed in the stellar automobiles on display at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, so you will understand why my reply is delayed, and perhaps also a foreshadowing of my answer. Anyone, who would travel halfway around the world to gaze upon a selection of classic cars, is marked as an obsessive individual, (the moniker “car-crazed” comes to mind). Of course, the general ambience of the Villa d’Este’s grace and charm adds to the allure, but it’s fair to say that I might journey to far less glamorous locations (and societies), if the right cars were assembled.
The Italian Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, like it’s corresponding American counterparts, such as the Concours d’Elegance held at Pebble Beach or Amelia Island, are truly competitions of automotive excellence.
Sem caricatured members of the famous Jockey Club de Paris as they paraded through the bois of Paris in their diverse conveyances. And what a parade it was. Depicted in various panels are celebrities of the day and their fashionable transportation: fashion models, the Duke of Orleans, the Director of Mercedes, the Kodak girl and the Maharadjah of Kapurthala State among others.
As a student of transportation, the closest similar scene to Sem’s artwork I personally have witnessed is the chaotic traffic trundling through India.
But the comparison bears out. There is a cultural fascination with transportation. We would be wise to recognize that our wheels are fashion statements, and are an irrepressible part of human nature.