Sex, Drugs, And Unlimited Texting In Tomorrow’s Auto-Pilot Autos – Forbes

Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A party on wheels? Volkswagen’s ‘Cedric’ self-driving automobile is presented ahead of this year’s Geneva International Motor Show. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

One of the over-hyped selling points for the self-driving cars of the future is their potential to ultimately be safer than human operators, if for no other reason an amalgam of sensors and computers is more apt to focus 100% on the task at hand, and not get distracted by phone calls, text messages, or scarfing down a Big Mac and a large fries while negotiating traffic.

In a recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Erie Insurance, 59% of 2,932 licensed drivers surveyed believe self-driving cars will in fact solve the dilemma of distracted driving, which is said to claim over 3,000 lives and cause more than 400,000 injuries each year. There. Done. Thanks for reading, right?

Not so fast. If tomorrow’s motorists won’t in fact be driving, what can we expect they’ll be doing while being transported to and from the office or the salon? Work? Hardly. Erie’s study largely found that drivers will simply continue their indulgent activities, only without fear of either legal retribution or lethal consequences.

That means 45% of those queried will continue to talk on the phone, while 34% each will continue to spend the time texting or emailing. Just over half (51%) of drivers polled said one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars would be the ability to take longer road trips without worrying about dozing off; 19% said they’d go ahead and take a nap while being driven.

A third (33%) of respondents in Erie’s survey felt that one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars is the ability to get from Point A to Point B safely while under the influence of liquor or drugs. While it’s open to question whether or not local laws would still require a sober and capable person to remain at the helm of an auto-piloted ride, 13% of drivers don’t think it should be illegal to helm a self-driving car while tipsy or stoned, and 5% look forward to the day in which they go ahead and openly imbibe while operating one.

Making a strong case for having the side windows of autonomous autos blacked out, 7% of respondents said they’d “engage in romantic activities” while sitting in traffic, with 11% of men planning an en route encounter, versus just 3% of women.

Could the days of self-driving bars and brothels be that far off?

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