Top Ten things people would do in driverless cars

Top Ten things people would do in driverless cars

As South by Southwest (SXSW) winds down this year there was an entire schedule of automotive, design, energy and technology experts discussing the pros, hazards, and ethics of autonomous vehicles.

Inrix, a transportation technology group, reported that 8 Billion hours were wasted driving in congestion in 2015 by U.S. commuters. What would you do during that time if you had a car chauffeuring you?

For a Nation obsessed with sex and food, neither one of those two activities were in the top ten preferred activities to do in a driverless (or semi-autonomous, autonomous) vehicle. So what are the top ten events the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) survey in the “5 technology trends to watch for in 2014” say people want to do in a car while they’re not driving?

This chart is from 2013, but it still stands pretty true.

Number 10
Exercise
Yep, 24% of the people who are driving would rather be exercising. I can understand this, road rage and driving are not only taxing on the body and emotions, but they also burn calories. Not many, but more than just sitting there in bliss, so I can see why people would want to exercise. The question is, what would the car look like on the inside? I could see a Nissan NV200 with a TRX setup being a big seller.

Number 9
Play video games
That’s a kind of duh moment, a statement of the obvious. All you have to do is look at the first generation hybrid cars to know that if you want to get people engaged all you have to do is make it seem like a Pacman game and people will play. Green leaves growing, blue skies blooming, angry birds sucking down gasoline, the entire NAV/instrument panel has become interactive with ways to show you are winning, or losing, the fuel economy game. Why? Because people love to play video games, and 29% of you would like to do that if you weren’t driving.

Number 8

Work
Work could be combined with another one of the top ten which is higher up in the ranks, talking on the phone at number 3. A lot of the people I see on the road are salespeople or construction workers, hauling tailpipe in a half ton, at 4 am phone in hand. I’m assuming these people are working already. Oh, how I would love to see them in a driverless car, or pickup.

Number 7
Sleep
Really? Only 50% of the people driving today would want to sleep if they were being driven? If you look at the people driving these cars in the morning, they look like Zombies, like they’re sleep deprived, yet only 50% of them want more sleep.

Number 6
Browse the internet
Isn’t browsing the web almost like sleeping? Over 5 million people have unhooked their cable TV. Does that mean they’ve stopped watching TV, given up being a couch potato? No, it just means they’re watching/browsing the internet. They have become Couch-Nets. Half the time they’re browsing they are just clicking because they don’t have a remote anymore.

Number 5
Watch video content
Commonly known as the babysitter the DVD in the car has become the infotainment to have if you are a parent on a long journey with kids in tow. Apparently 55% of those parents are jealous of their children and would love to be a child in the 21st century, sitting in the back of the car watching a video, laughing with noise cancelling headphones on, not a care in the world.

Number 4
Read
Newsflash! 57% of drivers still read and would rather do that than drive. This statistic is superb news for newspapers and magazines. With numbers like that perhaps Hearst Corporation, Rand McNally, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal (aka Murdoch) should sponsor driverless cars.

Number 3
Talk on the phone
See Number 8.

Number 2
Listen to music
Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks”? Don’t you think 80% of drivers already listen to music? Arff Arff

and the Number 1 thing people would do in a driverless car (drum-roll please David Letterman)

Number 1
Watch the road
81% of you would just like to look at the road. Is it because you don’t have the time to look while driving? Do you get jealous of the person in the shot gun seat that is looking dreamily out the passenger window and blithely says to you, look at that guy scooting across the ocean” as you are speed through the apex of a curve on California’s Highway 1 knowing that if you looked both of you would be careening off a cliff?

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.