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Why hasn't the sci-fi genre accepted and adopted autonomous vehicles?

RAW84

Member
Oct 6, 2014
616
315
Boston
I've watched a few sci-fi shows/movies lately and the lack of autonomous vehicles is beginning to stick out. From Black Mirror to Altered Carbon and even Pacific Rim, these works tend to show off visions of the future with advanced AI, digitized consciousness, lifelike holograms, instant/effortless inter-human audio communications, instant access to data with internalized computers/pop-up displays...and then they hop in a car and drive like it's the 1950's.

The most egregious example, to me, was in Alerted Carbon which paints the picture of a world centuries in the future with flying cars and castles in the sky. It seems to me that flying cars would almost necessitate autonomous vehicles to prevent regular spectacular accidents. The lack of self driving became particularly apparent when the main character is rushing his wounded partner to the hospital and he's looking back and forth between the "road" ahead and her and yelling "Hang in there! Don't die on me now!" It just struck me as silly that such an advanced society wouldn't have them in autonomous vehicles where they could just hop in the car, hit an emergency button and been granted priority travel to the nearest hospital.

Anybody else notice this? Any thoughts on why they're so slow to adopt this vision?
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,771
7,987
Maine
I've watched a few sci-fi shows/movies lately and the lack of autonomous vehicles is beginning to stick out. From Black Mirror to Altered Carbon and even Pacific Rim, these works tend to show off visions of the future with advanced AI, digitized consciousness, lifelike holograms, instant/effortless inter-human audio communications, instant access to data with internalized computers/pop-up displays...and then they hop in a car and drive like it's the 1950's.

The most egregious example, to me, was in Altered Carbon which paints the picture of a world centuries in the future with flying cars and castles in the sky. It seems to me that flying cars would almost necessitate autonomous vehicles to prevent regular spectacular accidents. The lack of self driving became particularly apparent when the main character is rushing his wounded partner to the hospital and he's looking back and forth between the "road" ahead and her and yelling "Hang in there! Don't die on me now!" It just struck me as silly that such an advanced society wouldn't have them in autonomous vehicles where they could just hop in the car, hit an emergency button and been granted priority travel to the nearest hospital.

Anybody else notice this? Any thoughts on why they're so slow to adopt this vision?

As the saying goes: never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

PS Spot the correction I made to the quoted text.
 

boaterva

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
7,573
3,746
Northern Virginia, USA
From your title, I was about to say, wtf, as it's a staple going back decades (cf. Robert Heinlein and his 'Number of the Beast' for one fun example). I've love a car (or a house) that told me where everything was and could take me home by saying 'take me home'.

But recent movies and TV/video, yeah, maybe they want people to think they are still in charge? Too in the news? Too far fetched? The average person still doesn't get this stuff. Heck, even Star Trek and Star Wars had people 'driving' all the ships! :D

I've seen a few eps of Altered Carbon, and the plot device there was mostly to have the cop behave like a cop. No point if the car would just deliver people. Perhaps?
 
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RAW84

Member
Oct 6, 2014
616
315
Boston
I've seen a few eps of Altered Carbon, and the plot device there was mostly to have the cop behave like a cop. No point if the car would just deliver people. Perhaps?

Driving didn't seem integral to the story, imo. I can only think of a couple scenes where they even showed them driving, and neither required or focused on the driving. It's not like there was a lot of high speed chases, most of the time they just got in the car and got to their destination anyways.
 

Pale_Rider

Member
Jul 28, 2016
675
749
Houston, TX
They don’t because car companies pay them to product place their cars in the movies/tv shows. The car companies have not by and large embraces autonomous cars and therefore are not paying them to show that. Two movies come to mind, A.I. and I, Robot depict automous vehicles. I’m sure there are more though.
 

RAW84

Member
Oct 6, 2014
616
315
Boston
Black Mirror did have autonomous vehicles in Kill the DJ.

Well sorta. :p
I haven't made it to Hang the DJ yet, but I did watch Hated in the Nation last night, and they did have an autonomous vehicle in that one. That vehicle was actually implemented the way I'd expect too. It was an unmarked police vehicle, they punched in the location for where the suspect was expected to be and it expedited their travel by interacting with the traffic lights. But it was still a novelty to the characters and it was one of the only ones on the road. In all other scenes, the characters drove themselves.

I think people have missed the point I was trying to make and subsequent question I'm asking with this thread. I know that driverless cars have been shown before, but it doesn't seem like it's been engrained into the view of the future in the way that other technology has (such as AI, nearly limitless data, instant communications, etc). I find this odd for more recent work, given where we are in 2018 with autonomous vehicles. I'm expecting to see more imaginative takes on how these vehicles could interact with other technological advances to have a marked impact on society. I've read far more imaginative views on forums like these. If all, or the vast majority of vehicles on the road were autonomous it could have a profound effect on how we interact and live our lives. For instance, imagine city streets NOT lined with parked parked cars because people don't bother owning them and/or cities feel empowered to pass more restrictions as the cars can park themselves underground. Or autonomous only highways where top speeds reach over 200 mph and travel is safer with cars communicating with each other.
 

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