In future America, car drives you

Some of the way, maybe. James Lileks finds instances when this might not be such a good idea:

GPS and sensible routes cannot take into account Strategy. For example: When I come out of Trader Joe’s and head north on France, there’s four lanes. Just about everyone is heading for Target. Just about everyone gets into the right lane six or seven blocks ahead of their destination. The most efficient way to get to Target is to get in the left lane, cruise ahead of everyone, and make a series of safe, signaled turns that take me into the right lane ahead of everyone who’s starting and stopping and poking along. I never have to make a cruel merge and wedge in — something that would require The Wave of Thanks — because there’s space. If there isn’t, I stick to the left lane, turn left — the opposite direction I wish to go — and swing around a parking lot so I come at the street from the other direction. Computers cannot make that sort of decision. It’s illogical.

But driving is illogical, because it’s intuitive. You get a feel for the streets. You read the traffic; you forecast behavior.

And is Google going to pony up because their algorithms decided you didn’t really need to make a Cruel Merge some morning and you wound up with a garland of guardrail? Hold not thy breath, O Future Driver.

1 comment

  1. Charles Pergiel »

    29 January 2013 · 12:43 am

    Not everyone is intent on getting someplace. Just ask any member of the anti-destination league.

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