‘You can see from the past comments on the piece how it aggravated the fervent technology worshippers. It’s like I questioned their god or their religious faith.
This partly explains the auto industry’s behaviour. It is very difficult for the public and our capitalist business structure to confront climate change and the impending environmental collapse.
We see symptoms of this collapse every day– species die offs, melting glaciers, stronger hurricanes, ever-larger wildfires and heatwaves, vast areas of ocean plastic contamination and oceanic dead-zones often caused by agricultural run-off and other pollution.
To truly confront this would require that we stop building cars, highways and get away from automobile based transportation and land use (as well as many other major lifestyle and reproductive changes). Doing this would mean the eventual decline of the auto industry, which scares them and their unions.
They know that Millennials are already buying fewer cars than the previous generations and they’re seeing the rise of bike/walk/public-transport movements in many countries.
So they need to counter the narrative that car based transportation is inherently anti-ecological.
The myth that we’ll all be using driverless electric vehicles very soon is the perfect way to do that. It’s a technological fantasy that appeals to people’s fear of more drastic lifestyle and economic change …and allows the industry to keep selling cars and highways with the promise that “SOME DAY” they will be “smarter” or more ecological.
Companies are not investing THAT much money into driverless technology on a per company basis. Waymo is only a division of Alphabet. They are just one of the company’s research and development projects and not an actual automobile manufacturer. I don’t think Alphabet really cares whether they make a profit because it has so many other promising technological business subsidiary projects.
Auto companies throw some money into their own internal research and development projects and they may get some automated features out of driverless car research (like emergency braking sensors or parallel parking features) but I think the real reason they like it is because it maintains the idea of “CARS” as the dominant mode of transportation and gives them something to show off at car shows for the next decade or two. It’s just marketing– like Elon Musk launching a car into space.
Any Singer cartoon – Two drug addicts talk about the future as contrasted with two car drivers talking about the future
The idea of widespread driverless car use is a crack dream, peddled by modern-day, utopian technologists, even as our environment and the human race sides into oblivion. These are deluded people peddling delusion.
Don’t underestimate the amount of cultural brainwashing going on when it comes to cars. The things that Cambridge Analytica and political manipulators have done recently (helping to put right-wing, pro-business lunatics into power), they learned from the private sector– from Exxon, Enbridge, and the auto industry.’