Thursday, May 5, 2022

Semi-Autonomous Cars... What Would I Do?

Tesla Model S
I've been thinking about a new car because my current auto will be nine years old in December. Next year around this time, I'll probably be seriously looking. 

I've already ruled out Tesla because their longest range model (Model S) can't handle the distances I regularly drive. Yes, the EPA range is 405 miles, which would be plenty. But I've read that EPA range is like EPA mileage figures: your range may vary. And if it's too hot or too cold your range will drop. And if you run the air conditioning or the heat, that drops your range more than it would in an internal combustion vehicle. And Car and Driver (my bible for all things automotive) says they only got 281 miles out of a Tesla. Which isn't enough. There is coming the Lucid Air Dream Edition with has an EPA range of 501 miles. That might be enough but it costs nearly $170,000!

Teslas are expensive, too!

While I was researching Teslas, I looked at their "Fully Self-Driving Capability" (which they currently charge $12,000 for). That means on highways and interstates, the car pretty much drives itself. But Tesla makes clear that the driver has to pay attention and have at least one hand on the wheel. It's website says:

The currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. 

This is, to me, the worst of both worlds. You aren't driving, but you can't do anything else (look at your phone, read, etc.). To me it would be mind-numbingly boring. I'd rather be driving. You can't even really sightsee because... you have to pay attention as if you're driving. 

So what's the point? I guess I'll wait until I can read or look at my phone or sightsee before I buy an autonomous car.

However, I was driving home from Spokane late one night and I was kind of wishing for a semi-autonomous car to help. I was very tired and found myself wandering in my lane. An autonomous car wouldn't do that, I assume. So perhaps they have their place.

How do you feel about autonomous cars? Are you looking forward to them or do you dread them? Let me know in the comments below.

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