Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beetle Juiced

My first car to drive was my father's VW Beetle, a good old 1960 model with four on the floor and "Armstrong 60" air conditioning (you rolled down the windows and drove 60 mph). It required a lot of personal participation on the part of the driver to get it from place to place, but that's so 1960.

The new Volkswagen is a self-driving "concept car" - and it has a name..."Sedric." For those of you who enjoy giving your cars names (raise your hands!) I am sure it will be all right with the technowizards who are building it if you change the name.

And you will have plenty of time to sit around thinking of new names, because you won't be busy driving it or anything.

This little baby is an electric SELF-DRIVING car. There is no steering wheel, no pedals. The occupants will sit facing each other, with an open floor onto which to spread a picnic lunch. And there is plenty of room for cold chicken and potato salad and sweet AND dill pickles, because there's no motor to take up space.

Sedric was "revealed" at the Geneva Motor Show the other day, and thrilled carshowgoers were, well, thrilled, to see how Sedric works. He responds to spoken voice commands from the people riding in him (no word on what he does when one occupant says "Take me to the Food Warehouse!" and another hollers out "Take us to the frozen custard stand!"). Meanwhile, the inside side of the windshield is a screen to display computerized maps and, I guess, your Facebook news feed and Instagram updates.

Now, I guess it's fair to say that there will be problems and bugs and kinks to work out with Sedric, but surely they will be worked out.  I mean, when the turn signal was invented, there were problems, but now that 100% of drivers signal their turns and lane changes 100% of the time every day of the year, it all worked out, didn't it?

And, while you won't be able to assign the kids the task of running down to the Phillips 666 to fill the gas tank and check the oil, you can always tell Sis and Junior that their job is to water the plants. You see, Sedric The Car freshens his own air by having plants - real live plants - inside the rear window.

German engineers are not noted for their senses of humor, so this cannot be a joke. Can it?

No comments: