Several car manufacturers are working on cars that will try to do our driving for us. Volvo, Audi, Mercedes, Google(!) and others already have prototypes on the road, with target dates for first sales to the public just a few years ahead. Today, I read a driver road test review of the Volvo XC90, which appears to have performed pretty well.
I'm sure the trend toward cars that would do the driving for us is positive, on the whole, as well as inevitable. The positive part is safety. The old axiom that most accidents are due to "the nut behind the wheel" is still true, perhaps even more than it used to be, as distractions seem to multiply. Just ask the fellow who made that daring leap across a drawbridge a few days ago.
The inevitable part is that we seem to pursue technology for its own sake and in automobiles especially, to force feed it to consumers. When we bought a new car a couple of years ago, we didn't really feel we needed a GPS and navigation system (after all, our cell phones already contained one), but in the brand/model we wanted, the dealer had no cars on the lot, nor within a few hundred miles' radius, that weren't already equipped with it. The system has proved occasionally useful, but yet not a necessity.
So if you're 50 or under, maybe even 60, a self-driving car is very likely in your future. You may be able to avoid it, if you're older, and if you want to, as the technology is perfected and the price comes down to the point that it might be offered in nearly all cars rather than just as an add-on toy for the most luxurious makes and models.
Eventually, though, your car manufacturer, like the Greyhound Bus Company of old, will be inviting you to "Leave the Driving to Us." I like that image, because it's a great symbolic representation of what's really happening in the driving world:
Driving as fun is slowly disappearing.
Even though carmakers usually still display their wares in commercials zipping along uncrowded highways in bucolic countryside, or doing fast-paced spins on city streets, the far more usual driving experience for 60-70% of Americans is a slow utilitarian grind through stoplights, road hazards, and the wacky things people do. I still do consider driving can sometimes be fun, especially off the Interstate; and when in the passenger seat I'm often bored silly; but the self-driving car as described in this road test will turn cars into little more than personal buses, and driving into an experience as mind-numbing as riding up a few floors in an elevator.