For more than a decade, people have been trying to teach cars how to drive. In the not-too-distant future, this effort may come full circle, with cars teaching people how to drive; last week, General Motors applied for a patent on an autonomous vehicle equipped to “train drivers.”
Self-driving cars have taken a lot longer to come about than was predicted, with complications relating to technology, safety, and regulations all throwing wrenches in the spokes of progress. Google was one of the first companies to invest heavily in driverless vehicle development, launching its self-driving car project in early 2009 out of its X lab (also known as the Moonshot Factory).
As recently as 2015, auto industry insiders predicted fully self-driving carswould be on the road by 2020. That wasn’t the case, and two years later we’re still waiting for the day we can kick back, put our feet up, and watch the scenery go by as autonomous cars deliver us to our destinations.
It seems General Motors thinks that day isn’t too far off, and the company wants to take self-driving tech one step further by turning the tables: what if cars could teach people to drive?
If, like me, your first thought was: why would people need to know how to drive in a future where cars are self-driving? It’s a valid question, particularly because some of the more recent driverless car designs don’t even have a steering wheel. But GM’s patent application notes that despite the existence of self-driving cars in the future, people may not always have access to them, may be in a location or situation where they’re not allowed, or “may wish to drive for personal satisfaction.”