It doesn’t matter what Elon Musk, the Ghost of Steve Jobs, or the five Chinese conglomerates that control the entire U.S. economy say. The self-driving car isn’t going to happen, ever, due to one glaring disruptor.
Costco’s parking lot on a Sunday afternoon.
If you’ve been to Costco on the weekend you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a fight or flight situation, and take it from me, that four foot long churro you’ve been craving since you popped last night’s Ambien isn’t worth risking your life. Instant gratification is great until you’re sideswiped by an octogenarian trying to text in his Lipitor prescription while simultaneously parking a 1988 land yacht in a space half its size.
Flatbeds loaded with enough bacon, booze, and 2-ply toilet paper to fill a Ford Focus careen from lane to lane. Customers who’ve lost their minds because Johnsonville ran out of free beer brat samples sprint haphazardly through the crosswalk. Drivers, panicked at the thought of paying $0.02 more per gallon down the street will cut you with a shiv to be 14th in line for gas. The Costco parking lot simply isn’t safe for a seasoned driver, much less a driverless car.
It would take an engineering feat from some combination of George Jetson, Andy Warhol, and Kanye West’s therapist to unscramble the traffic patterns at Costco because nothing makes sense. Not. One. Thing. So how does a computer operated vehicle perform the kind of split-second, logic-defying, three-point turn driving decisions that real people can’t seem to figure out? The answer’s simple. It doesn’t.
The greatest engineers in the world can build an autonomous car, Bill Gates can fund it, and the Costco parking lot will singlehandedly destroy it. Game over before it begins.
So if you’re like me, cruising down the highway at a cool 90 mph blasting Adam Ant’s Goody Two Shoes while switching lanes every 10 seconds to find the fastest one? You’re in luck and you’re still in control. Thanks to Costco, self-driving cars are already a thing of the past before the first one even rolls off the lot.
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