Everybody knows that driverless cars are coming. We might not know when they’ll be here, but they’re definitely coming. Unfortunately, most of the attention that’s being paid to autonomous vehicle technology revolves around boring stuff like improving commute times, reducing urban congestion, and insurance liability.
These are all incredibly important factors to consider, but they’re also incredibly dull. If you just listen to podcast hosts discuss things like “V2V communication” and the “impact of driverless taxis,” you might start to think that our autonomous vehicle future is destined to be bland and uninspiring.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. A future full of vehicles that don’t need drivers is going to be awesome! Removing the need for a human to be behind the wheel opens up a whole new world of opportunities beyond Robot Uber and strings of businesspeople commuting to their business jobs in tiny robot cars.
While we don’t know exactly what will materialize, here are five creative uses for autonomous vehicles that are sure to make your life better.
1. Try-before-you-buy clothing
What’s the point of having to put on pants to go out and buy more pants? Stores are a hassle, finding something in your size is a hassle, and trying on clothes in the changing room is incredibly awkward. Plus, you have to deal with some 16-year-old sales clerk who smells like he bathed in cologne instead of showering.
Some companies have tried to address these problems by offering mail-order clothing services, but going through the mail adds all kinds of delays. However, in the future, when driverless cars are abundant, you could have your local Target send a driverless delivery truck to your house with a few different options. Later in the day, the autonomous truck could swing by your house to pick up anything that you don’t want. Can you say “convenient”?
2. Online grocery shopping
While the future of clothing delivery services is bright, the future of online grocery shopping is even brighter. Let’s say you’re baking a delicious cake and realize you’re out of eggs. How are you supposed to finish that cake without eggs? Sure, you could drive to the grocery store, buy eggs, drive back home, and start baking again, but that’s inconvenient. Maybe you have guests over. Maybe you have young children who need constant supervision. Maybe you don’t own a car and would have to take the bus to go buy eggs.
Whatever the reason is, it would sure be convenient to be able to order eggs from home and have a delivery car show up 15 minutes later. Heck, you could even eliminate grocery shopping altogether. Just order online, have the food drive over, unload it, and be done. Sure, you can already order things like canned soup online, but the expense of preserving perishables like ice cream, steak, and avocados makes mail-order much less practical. Driverless car-order, though, would be much more practical. Just think of the convenient, late-night guacamole.
3. Automatic trash cans
Can anyone remember to take their trash cans to the curb every week? We sure can’t. What about recycling? Is this a recycling week, or is that next week? We really appreciate the convenience that is weekly garbage pickup, but we’re also forgetful. If we could get away with it, we’d just leave our trash can by the curb all week, but sadly, that’s not going to work.
In a world where driverless cars are abundant, the technology to allow for a trash can to drive itself to the curb once a week would surely exist. Automatic trash cans might not technically be considered vehicles, but the technology that will allow a trash can to drive itself to the curb will be very much the same — and plus, it will be incredibly convenient.
They would also be able to drive themselves away from the curb and back to where they belong, so you wouldn’t have to worry about remembering to bring them up, either. Trust us when we say it’s going to be life-changing.
4. Take-out delivery
Obviously, getting food delivered already exists, but between delivery fees and driver tips, it can get expensive very quickly. Humans are also incredibly inefficient compared to machines, which means they get lost easily, they’re bad at optimizing their drive route, and they need to sleep. Plus they tend to drive erratically, which means your pizza might not only show up late and cold but banged up and with the cheese stuck to the box.
Driverless delivery trucks, on the other hand, are a much better option. There’s no need to tip a robot for doing its job, so go ahead and knock $5 off the cost of that Chinese food. Robots also don’t need to sleep, so in this driverless future, if you decide that you want Jimmy John’s at 3 a.m., you can have Jimmy John’s at 3 a.m. There’s also even the potential for automatic food prep on one of these delivery vehicles, so theoretically, that pizza could be piping hot and fresh when it shows up at your house. What could be better than that?
5. Puppy rentals
This idea would probably take the most time to figure out how to implement safely and ethically, but it’s certainly the most adorable. Don’t pretend that you’ve never looked outside on a beautiful day and thought to yourself, “Self, I could really use a puppy to take to the park today.” The problem is, working a job makes it difficult for a lot of people to set aside the necessary amount of time to take care of a dog properly. Owning a dog might not be the most practical idea, but how can you resist puppies?
Clearly the solution here is a puppy rental service. Just pull up the app on your iPhone 12, order a puppy for the afternoon, and wait for it to arrive. Stressed out because you just took the bar exam and you don’t know how to unwind? Order six puppies for a few hours, roll around on the floor with them, and let their cuteness melt your stress away. When the time is up, just put them in their plush puppy-mobile and send them on their way. If you fall in love with them, though, surely there would be some sort of option for adopting.
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