A few months ago we were coming back from northern Virginia on I95 and almost to Richmond when I noticed an object fly overhead from left to right. It was perhaps 500 feet above the highway and not very large. It was bigger than a bird and not as large as a golf cart. What was it? Could it have been a drone?
There has been lots of talk about drones in the news lately. Are they allowed to shoot us, for example? There seems to be some question about this. The example that is used is a commercial airplane that is being used for destructive purposes. It may be full of innocent men, women and children but what can you do? Or, so goes the argument. Fortunately, it seems to me, technology will make this argument irrelevant in the near future. Because there soon will be (or already is) the means for one moving vehicle to control the actions of another moving vehicle.
“A convoy of self-driven cars has completed a 200km (125-mile) journey on a Spanish motorway, in the first public test of such vehicles.
The cars were wirelessly linked to each other and “mimicked” a lead vehicle, driven by a professional driver.
The so-called road train has been developed by Volvo. The firm is confident that they will be widely available in future.
The project aims to herald a new age of relaxed driving.”
So there you go!
I can see the day when the metal bird that was covering the northern entrance to our fair city notices a driver (not me of course) speeding down the road and swoops alongside the driver’s window. A LED screen on the thing lights up and the big orange smiley face turns into an even larger frown. Again and again. Then our fascinating new friend sends out a signal and begins slowing the car while writing a ticket and sending it up to an official, government cloud somewhere. If reckless driving or suspicion of DUI is involved it may even move the vehicle into the emergency lane and turn off the ignition. Lock the doors with the hapless subject still inside and send out all those brilliant blue lights to warn oncoming traffic until the police arrive.
In theory a similar sort of routine would work in the sky where the stakes are much higher (no pun intended).
This is where we are going, sports fans. It’s not a happy thought. And I’m still wondering about one problem that seems too difficult to resolve at the moment. Let’s say you are part of the Volvo convoy heading down the highway with the family. You are talking to someone on Skype while the wife and kids pursue their own software adventures on their computers. No one is talking to each other, of course. This is a family outing. Suddenly your son hears nature’s call and he cannot wait! He MUST go! There’s a rest stop in five miles but you are in the middle of a 12 car tandem. What happens next?
It’s time to go…