TopSpeed’s Autonomous Holiday Wish List
Care for an autonomous snow blower, anyone?by Kirby Garlitos, on
We here at TopSpeed have always been of the mindset that autonomous technology is going to be the next major evolution of the auto industry. Barring circumstances that will end up being beyond the entire industry’s control, the future of the business will largely revolve around autonomous mobility.
That’s neither good nor bad at this point because we still know very little about the technology’s potential. That said, we’re also creatures of creativity and we decided to marry the two of the biggest storylines of today: autonomous technology and the holiday season.
In that spirit, we asked our staffers a simple question: “What is something that’s autonomous would you like to have for Christmas?”
Predictably, the answers were as varied as a holiday fruit basket. Some wanted items that were practical and might actually be feasible in the near future, depending on how the development of autonomous technology goes. Others picked items that bordered on outlandish.
The good news: there are no right or wrong answers here. And since we’re open to you, our faithful readers’ comments, feel free to let us know what you want for the holidays that has an autonomous angle attached to it. Be creative with your answers because this whole thing is all in good fun anyway.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Autonomous Car Repair
If I had my way, I’d apply autonomous technology to car maintenance and repair. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes, I get a kick outta wrenching on my own car. Sometimes it’s quite enjoyable and satisfying. But most of the time, it’s an exercise in bleeding knuckles, endless frustration, and deep dives into my backlog of expletives. Part of it comes down to the fact I don’t have an actual garage, which means jacking up the car in the driveway and laying down on a piece of cardboard. The other half of it is my rather pathetic collection of tools – sure, I’ve got the basics, but not much more than that.
A robot mechanic would fix all those problems and more. Literally. Forget searching for random forum posts and how-to videos – just plug your auto-wrencher into the nearest outlet, pop the hood, and grab a drink while it’s sorted for you. Something like that would work even better at the track. “I’m still getting some understeer in Turn 9, try to stiffen the rear a bit more,” I’d instruct my autonomous pit crew.
Yeah, I like the sound of that.
Autonomous Snow Remover
I like the look of snow, and there’s nothing better than a white Christmas, but I can’t stress enough how much I hate taking care of snow and cleaning off my vehicle in the winter. I live in a state that sometimes sees a lot of snow in the winter months, and there’s nothing worse than waking up on a cold morning, just to find you not only have to clean a foot of snow off your SUV, but you have to clean off your sidewalks and empty out the driveway too. What makes matters worse is the fact that no matter what you do, you end up being cold most of the day. You trek through snow; it gets into your boots, your clothes get wet, your feet get stinky, and your vehicle’s carpet gets soaked with water, among other things.
So, I’d like to have something that serves a couple of purposes; something that will autonomously remove the snow from my sidewalk, my driveway, my vehicle, and clean a large path for me, so I don’t have to get all wet and excessively cold in the morning. Hell, why not have it just remove all of the snow from my property – now that would be ideal for me and my four-legged, furry companions too. Yeah! I want something like that.
Every time I think of autonomous cars (or autonomous anything for that matter), I keep getting images from the Terminator movie franchise in my head. Yeah, I know, it’s a bit ludicrous at this point, but hey, the future where our cars will drive by themselves and wars will be fought by autonomous vehicles and killer robots isn’t that far away, really. With this in mind, I’d rather stick to walking the dog, removing the snow, and fixing the car by myself this winter. Not to mention that I’d very much like to drive the hell out of the Caterham Seven Sprint that Santa Claus is supposed to stuff under my Christmas tree this year. Come to think of it, I think Santa could use an autonomous sleigh. The reindeer deserve a quiet, restful Christmas now and then.
Autonomous Driving sans the Driver
So it’s highly likely technology will eventually get to this point, but I’d love to see autonomous cars that could operate autonomously – as in nobody had to be sitting in the car for it to operate. What’s the point? Ever taken a flight but hated the thought of paying to park your car? Problem solved; just have it drive itself home. Is it time for an oil change or a battery recharge but have to be at work? Just pull out your smartphone and select the dealership or a nearby a charging station as the destination. The possibilities with this are nearly endless. Time is the ultimate commodity and luxury, so having vehicles that operate on their own will greatly free people to do more of what they want (or need) to do.
Autonomous Shopping Cart
Like most people – admit it, you are one too! – I’m a procrastinator when it comes to holiday shopping. I can’t help it, really. Work is too busy at this time of year and the only free time I get is spent doing other things except shopping. So in honor of this article’s theme, I’d like to get an autonomous shopping cart that does all the shopping for me while I sit in a Starbucks, sipping my mocha latte. Wouldn’t that be cool? You just program the list of items you want to buy, where to buy them, and let the autonomous shopping cart – let’s call him S.A.N.T.A., as in “Super AutoNomous Transaction Assistant – do the hard work. It can even have a built-in camera that takes pictures of certain items and sends them to your phone where you can reply if you want that particular item, or you want to get something else. Brilliant! I know the name I just made up is an incredible reach, but I stand by it. Let S.A.N.T.A. do the shopping for you, including paying for the items you purchase, while you sit back, relax, and wait for it to finish.