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Opinion: I’ll Pass on Autonomous RVs, Thanks

With 2020 fast approaching, it got me thinking about the future … of driving.

It seems like nearly every day there is a news story about another major automaker committing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop autonomous cars and trucks. I can imagine it won’t be long before the bigger motorhome manufacturers will feel compelled to follow suit.

Speaking for myself, I have to tell you the idea sends shivers down my spine in a sort of Skynet, the-robots-got-smart kind of way.

Even if it wasn’t for my Terminator paranoia, I don’t think I’m cut out for a world where cars drive themselves given the many variables with on-the-road driving. And I especially don’t relish the idea of tractor-trailers or Class A motorhomes buzzing down the road with no one behind the wheel, relying on microprocessors rather than reflexes, to stay safe.

Trust me, I know that even the best human drivers can be knuckleheads. I commute about 40 minutes to work every day and see plenty of drivers texting, fixing their hair and makeup, or otherwise being distracted. Making my home in Colorado, I’ve also seen more than one driver roll down his window at a stoplight and drop a smoldering ciggy onto the pavement – and I’m not talking about a tobacco product.

Despite all of that, I’m still not comfortable with a digital driver. From my perspective, to put it simply, it seems a human driver with self-preservation as a goal is less likely to have a glitch and hit another car or a very unlucky pedestrian.

Plus, for me personally, there’s just something about driving a car with your windows rolled down and the stereo blasting. Even at age 54. With the passage of time, I have gone from the sports car to a reasonable family vehicle, but still …

So, before our industry jumps in with the auto industry trying to find ways to automate everything, I hope it will take into account that driving is still something that a lot of people enjoy. And with all the innumerable variables involved in safely maneuvering on a busy highway, I can’t imagine trusting my fate to a computer. (For the record, I’m fine with the computer offering lane assist, backup cameras and other safety features.)

Just leave it to me to do the driving, thanks.

For a happier take on technological advancement, I hope you will read this month’s cover story on how Furrion is pioneering off-grid technology for RVs thanks to some notable advances in its power-generation and energy-management products combined with its more energy-efficient appliances. And while the technology described in the article sounds futuristic, Furrion’s co-founder emphasizes that it is available for RV manufacturers to begin using today.

Click here to read the December issue of RV PRO.

Travis O. Pryor

Travis Pryor is the former managing editor of RV PRO.

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