The Google driverless car has been all over the news these days — and if you live in Northern California, you may very well have spotted a few all over your roadways, too. Naturally, much of this news coverage has focused on what the driverless car will do for drivers. A marked decrease in accidents — particularly those involving drunk, texting, and tired drivers — is one benefit. Also, there is a reduction in road rage-related stress. What’s more, driverless cars are electric, and because they constantly communicate with one another, they can automatically create the most fuel-efficient routes for cars across the grid. In this way, driverless cars are as good for the environment as they are for human health.
One thing, however, that the news has tended to miss is just what driverless cars will mean for the way we work. Especially for commuters who currently waste weeks of their lives each year getting from home to work. So, as we outsource the driving work automated vehicles, how will the way we work change? Here are a few predictions.
1. We’ll Get More Done on the Way There
We’ve written before about how much work you can get done while riding public transport. On trains, buses, car shares and planes, you can devote your commute to working on your laptop and your mobile devices. That could include answering emails, preparing a sales presentation, reading the latest industry news, or writing a white paper. Because they require no input from a human driver (that is, you), Google driverless cars will make all of this possible for your car-based commute. With more convenience, you won’t have to waste time waiting at a station. In fact, sequestered in the quiet of your car, you just might get more done than you do in the office. It is, essentially, your private office on wheels. How cool is that? Just don’t forget to bring along your mobile keyboard and mouse to make your mobile workspace as ergonomic and comfortable as possible.
2. We’ll Have More Time and Energy for Our Personal Lives
As we get more done on our commutes, we should (in theory) have more time to devote to our personal lives. That could mean hanging out after work or cheering on the kids at their soccer games without feeling the pressure to check our email. Of course, knowing the modern work mentality, there’s also the danger we’ll only cram in more work, but not if we make a concerted effort to do otherwise. So, vow now to save work for the commute and put down your phone during family time!
3. We’ll Finally Catch Up on Our Reading
Maybe you have a list of pleasure reads on your nightstand you’ve been meaning to get to for years. Or, maybe you’ve got reading that relates to your broader career interests, but not to your exact job title, and you know that reading this material will give you new insight into what you do. When you’re not driving, you’ll have a lot more time to do both pleasure and educational reading. And who knows, possibly take your career and your abilities up to the next level.
4. We’ll Eat Breakfast
Or at least, we should eat breakfast, as we’ll no longer have any excuses. In fact, if you’ve got the whole car to yourself, why not spread a little picnic on the passenger seat? What a great way to get centered, relax and rejuvenate on the way to work!
5. We’ll Connect With Family and Friends
Alternatively, that privacy makes for an ideal catch-up time. This is something you can’t really have on a train, where everyone will be listening to your conversation (and hating you for having it). Or, if you’re on the hunt for a new job, this is a great time to talk to recruiters or do phone interviews.
6. We’ll Waste Less Time in Traffic Jams
Again, driverless cars communicate with each other, and they also have the best mapping technology and access to traffic data. With enough driverless cars on the road, they’ll be able to determine the fastest routes for everybody, and adjust routes and speeds based on who is going where. That means you’ll waste a lot less time stuck in traffic. This will leave you more time to do all that we’ve discussed.
These days, we’re often told that a technology is “revolutionary.” The Google driverless car is one of the few technologies that actually will transform the way we do just about everything. For our work and for our personal lives, that innovation can’t come too soon. See you on the road!