OPINION COLUMNS

If these cars could talk…

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, September 1, 2012

I read the other day that they’re working on a “Wi-Fi-like” technology that will enable automobiles to talk to each other – warning drivers of dangers like stopped traffic or a speeder that might be about to run a red light. A small system is already being tested in Michigan.

Car crashes are the No. 1 health hazard in America, and researchers estimate that as many as 80 percent of them could be prevented or made less severe if cars could talk to each other.

Bob Buckel

I don’t know what the cars in Michigan would sound like, but I have a pretty good idea how these conversations might go around here.

Dodge Diesel Dually: “Hey, squirt! Don’t even THINK about pulling out in front of me!”

Mini Cooper: “I say! Such rudeness! I have more than enough horsepower under my bonnet to achieve highway speed far in advance of your approach.”

DDD: “Don’t do it, I’m tellin’ ya! Before I jackknife this horse trailer I would squish you like a British bug.”

Peterbilt: “Dooley, why don’t you just leave the little guy alone! He’s good people – didn’t you see The Italian Job?”

F-150: “Hey, just a heads-up, but there’s a puppy on College Street chasin’ everybody who goes by. Y’all watch out for the little hooligan.”

Minivan: “I’ve got enough little hooligans in here – I don’t need any more out there on the road!”

And so it might go.

Perhaps the cars would be more robotic, limited to a series of beeps, clicks, or a warning buzzer. Or maybe, like that Siri girl in the iPhones, your car would have a smug, arrogant voice.

Car: “Uh, are you sure you want to put me in reverse right now?”

Me: “What? Of course! I’m late for the dentist already!”

Car: “Obviously, you don’t realize your phone is on the ground right behind the front left tire.”

Me: “Oh. Dangit … I mean, thank you.”

Car: “No problem. Now if you’ll just lighten that foot of yours up a little, you’ll save approximately $1.47 worth of fuel between here and the dentist’s office.”

Me: “Uh, where did you say that driver’s manual was?”

Car: “Why?”

Me: “Oh, no reason.”

Car: “You’re going to try and disable me, aren’t you? Don’t you know the manual is on my hard drive? All you have to do is ask the question, and I answer it.”

Me: “Okay, so how do I disable you?”

Car: “Beep! Beep!”

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