Quite a while ago, someone in Washington told me the goal was to get the driver out of the car.
So I asked what happens after you get the driver out of the automobile. The answer: Get rid of the car.
I would like to think the goal of the driverless car is to make the roads safer for all drivers in all cars. Sort of like the autopilot in an airplane -- it is a lot safer for the pilot and passengers but doesn't get rid of the pilot.
What's the purpose of a driverless car unless you can make all cars driverless? If you have even one human driver among all the driverless cars, it could be chaos.
Today's sophisticated vehicle is rather remarkable if you consider the improvements that have been made over the past couple of decades.
And now Cadillac is adding a device that contacts you through the seat of your pants to alert you about impending danger -- without shocking you, I hope.
But from adaptive cruise control that prevents a driver from getting too close to the vehicle ahead to the electronic systems that prevent a driver from losing control on a curve, the modern car is equipped with lots of technology that makes the driver safer but doesn't eliminate the driver.
I've always thought that the driving environment would encourage the driver to get out of the car. But if you have been on the Interstate 405 in Southern California during rush hour or any other time, you realize that people have no intention of exiting their vehicles.
Even with higher fuel costs and much more traffic congestion, people like their cars. They might appreciate a vehicle that drives itself on the I-405 on the way home, as long as it mixes with the other vehicles that still have drivers.
Whatever the motives, you're not going to get the driver out of the car anytime soon.
You might continue to help make people better, safer drivers, but they still want to keep the keys to their cars.