In movies and television shows depicting the future, there are flying cars and cars that drive themselves — and sometimes a combination of the two. In the movie Total Recall, for example, there are taxi services that are entirely driven by robots. The promise of the future is that people will no longer have to drive if they don’t wish to do so, and that driving can be a more passive activity to be watched as though it were a form of entertainment of its own.
Google has managed to bring us the future in the form of a car that can drive itself and showed to what extent it could do so by taking a legally blind man to Taco Bell. While that would not have been my first choice as far as cuisine goes, it just goes to show some of the many possibilities that will be made possible by cars that do not require a human driver.
One idea that came to mind is a sort of taxiing service for people who have only recently acquired a job and have no choice other than to take a chain of public transportation that takes numerous hours each way — it would save the sanity of the person in question. It would also make it that much easier for people to find work — knowing that they have options when it comes to getting places.
More importantly, we now have a perfectly viable solution for the problem of what to do when a person falls under circumstances that prevent them from driving for different reasons. For example, when a person commits certain traffic violation, their license is revoked for a period of time — but how is that person meant to get around while they do not have have a license? A fitting punishment would be to put them in a robotically driven car that has a sign on it that explains the crime committed and that it is the reason the person is being driven by a robotic car.
Of course, the best thing would be if the robotic cars were only used for more optimistic purposes like the helping of the blind but realistically it would be better to serve the many needs that could be served by a car that drives itself.