British cultural critic Stephen Bayley, in an interview with this author, stated, “Driving a car is the act of projecting your personality through visual metaphors; this is central to erotica.” It is safe to assume Mr Bayley does not drive a minivan, because minivans are the mom jeans of the automotive world.But the grocery-getting emasculation-mobile — now entering its mid-thirties — might be ripe for a midlife sexual awakening. The Algorithm Method
On 3 May, Google and Fiat-Chrysler announced that they would integrate Google self-driving technology into 100 examples of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Fiat-Chrysler will be designing the vehicles in such a way that all of Google’s sensors and computers can be built right in, and all of the smart software that’s been trained by legions of Google cars will soon be piloting families to Little League games throughout the suburbs of America.
With a minivan, it’s a big temptation to put the seats down and have sex while the computer’s driving. That’s very dangerous. People are there for a Plan B when the computer can’t deal with the situation.
“This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button,” reads a post from the Google Self-Driving Car Project. Minivans with wide hands-free doors will offer a new transportation option to millions of people, they note. Immediately, this would include the disabled, the very young, and the elderly, and eventually the sleepy, the directionally challenged, the inebriated, and those who would rather work than drive.
It would also include those who would rather get busy than drive. “Work done by Tesla and Google shows that people very, very quickly learn to trust the technology,” says Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence. “They do silly and stupid things, like brushing their teeth, eating meals, and climbing into the back seat.”
“With a minivan,” he continues, “it’s a big temptation to put the seats down and have sex while the computer’s driving. That’s very dangerous. People are there for a Plan B when the computer can’t deal with the situation.”
Right now, sexytime is one of hundreds of activities that might interfere with human attention, but Google’s most advanced technology assumes — and indeed is built for — zero human control, and its own Driverless Car famously doesn’t even have a steering wheel.