Riding in a Self-driving Car

When we drive our cars, we take it for granted we will face forward with hands and feet on the controls and focus our attention on road events in front of us. But when a car can drive itself, those requirements mostly change or even disappear.

We face forward to see exterior events through the windshield. We shift our attention from exterior events to dashboard instruments to rear view mirrors and cycle attention around them as needed. A self-driving car will enable the driver to swivel the seat to face other passengers and engage in conversation and other interactions face to face. Advanced cameras and display systems will enable monitoring of all exterior events and instrument readings without the need to face forward.

At first, many drivers will still want access to hand and foot controls as a backup in case the self-driving system fails in some way. As car designs accommodate changing self-driving requirements over time, the backup controls will be modified to also be available from any posture or position. Foot based controls and large levers like shifters and hand brakes will be replaced with “fly by wire” electronic controls that can be accessed on any control surface or even by voice control.

Heads-up displays on visor screens, glasses and contact lenses will eliminate the need for glass windows. The entire interior surface of the passenger cabin can also be used for display purposes, either for social and entertainment functions or to create the “transparent” car presentation.

Passenger chairs can be designed to maximize both comfort and safety, resembling acceleration couches that can morph their form to meet varying requirements. Exo-skeleton functions can be built in to them and crash protection that eclipses air bags will become standard.

Whether it is social interaction, business functions, entertainment or even just taking a nap, the experience of riding in a self-driving car will become integrated with every other part of our daily lives.

SEE ALSO:
Transparent Cars
No Windows in Space
Transparency as Augmentation
Third Person Driver Camera System
Active Living Spaces

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