A recent crash in Ann Arbor, Michigan - not far from the Autoblog headquarters - proves my point. One driver crossing through a parking lot hit a car in the side, causing a roller. In a parking lot. The police couldn't even write a citation because it wasn't on a public road. Sure, nobody was injured. But, seriously, if you can't successfully navigate from the out-lot Starbucks to the exit to the main road without hitting someone broadside, you don't deserve a driver's license.
So I may not welcome our robot chauffeur overlords on every level, but I accept the inevitability that eventually we won't drive our own cars. It may be 50 years away, it might be less than 20, but the day is coming. It's the termination of a path that began with the automatic transmission, a repeating cycle of convenience breeding apathy. And yes, for safety. But each safety and convenience improvement takes responsibility away from the driver. Nobody would argue against ABS as a life-saving safety feature, but the average driver has no idea how modulate the brake pedal. Then again, the reason for implementing ABS - and stability control, and lane-keeping assist, and so on - is in part because most drivers can't be bothered to use basic skills. As a group we are all children. We proved we can't handle the responsibility of driving, and autonomy is coming to take away one of the greatest toys in the history of mankind. The only sad part is that we've already lost the argument.