Driverless cars are coming. We’ll miss the thrill of the ride.


The full-on driverless car could be an order of magnitude safer than the human-driven variety. Despite generations of driver education, traffic policing, highway building, and automobile safety regulations, nearly 40,000 Americans are killed in motor vehicle crashes and another 2.5 million are seriously injured annually. Safer cars, like safer airliners, are a good thing. But since Vanderbilt’s time, the controlled risk of driving has been an antidote to meaningless work and passive leisure.

Driving is dangerous, and we like it that way. We may never love driverless cars the way we love the recklessness of being behind the wheel.

This is an overly romanticized view of driving. The vast majority of people generally hate it and will be more than happy to become passengers in autonomous vehicles.