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Can You Text in a Self-Driving Car?

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On: Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 9:03AM | By: Karen Cook

Can You Text in a Self-Driving Car?

When is it ok to text and drive? Obviously, the answer is never! But what if you aren’t actually driving? What if your car is driving for you? I always picture George Jetson and hear his iconic “future car sound” when I think of the new technology of self-driving vehicles. (Funny though. He never had a cell phone. Even he didn’t text and drive.)

It’s a fascinating new technology. A car that can park itself, keep itself on the road, respond to other vehicles, and take you where you want to go, all on it’s own. But are we ready for that? And how safe do we feel turning control over to an inanimate object?

So far, the answer is we aren’t and we don’t. How many people do you know with a self-parking car? They are out there but my guess is you don’t know anyone. That’s because no one really wanted it. This option has quietly faded into the background. I don’t think the trust is there yet. Even our GPS comes with a disclaimer that it can’t foresee road closures and such. I know my GPS has failed me more than once—without any obstacles.

Obviously, the wonderful technology our grandparents dreamed of, which even included flying cars, has not gained a foothold yet because it isn’t perfect. It’s scary to take your hands off the wheel (except for those super humans who text and drive, of course). But as with anything else, it’s only a matter of time. A few more decades perhaps and your new car may not even have a steering wheel. Who knows? It’s already acceptable in Florida to drive without driving. And you can get a ticket without being pulled over. Can you blame that on the car, yet?

It would be convenient to be able to let an on-board computer get me everywhere I need to go and locate a parking space when we arrived. I’m horrible with directions and I hate to find parking in a crowded parking lot. Still, I’m a proponent for personal responsibility. I’d rather keep my control and trust in myself. My grandchildren may feel differently and car makers are certainly hoping that will be the case. I just hope that fully automatic cars are not given the ability to text. Chaos would automatically ensue.


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