Toyota is launching a new autonomy/safety/mobility initiative. It will save lives and bring mobility to the infirm/elderly. Good so far. But what about the fun of driving a car? Is the sports car dead? TeslaMondo’s previous post takes a pessimistic view of our driving future and cheers a wholly unintelligent sports car from 15 years ago. Quite a brutish view of the world for a Tesla investor, yes? Maybe.
But then again . . .
Skip to 34:34 and you’ll hear Toyota’s new tech advisor Gill Pratt say: “if you are a non-expert driver, but you would like to experience the joy of driving in a way [of] high performance, what’s wonderful about parallel autonomy is that it can help prevent you from having an accident even if your skill is not quite good enough, and it can help you learn how to drive better because it will help teach you how to drive in the best way.”
Let’s reflect quickly on “intrusive” technology in cars. Taking a hardcore view would mean rejecting the likes of antilock brakes. That seems silly. Of course the car should think for itself, uh, a little.
But there’s something disturbingly clinical about Pratt’s statement. It seems that spirited driving in a Toyota, and all cars eventually, will become as corralled, monitored, measured, and sterile as the eroticism in the Lucas film THX1138. You and your car will never again have a private room, but don’t worry. Sex is better with proper coaching.
But wait just a second. Toyota says the fuel cell Mirai represents transport for the next hundred years. How does one drive a Mirai in a high-performance manner? This whole topic of a car and driver marriage is moot, at least for Toyota. Divorce proceedings have commenced. Pratt might as well take a seat.