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After reading some of the Porsche Taycan reviews that came out yesterday, I suddenly remembered a "conversation" I had with someone on Twitter a few years back about self-driving technology. This was a little before the site became quite the cesspool of today, and I was still not used to strangers shouting at me when they disagreed with something I said, so it stood out at that time.
If memory serves me well, I would tweet-commented some sarcasm about how dangerous driving was to begin with in response to Autopilot criticism making laps, and this person responded with ALL CAPS about how it was all wrong because many people like to drive a car. Specifically, they said that joy was part of what makes us human, and it even became the hashtag.
I politely replied that I had been in too many accidents as passengers and victims not to welcome the open arms self-driving. What does the new Taycan have to do with this, you ask? I promise to connect the dots, but carry with me a little longer …
After that little glance, I had another thought related to some personal plans of mine. One of the plots my husband and I were considering building our future home on had dozens of goals, so we dreamed for a moment of having a hobby garage for EV conversion projects with small test tracks and the like along with chickens and tomatoes. Soon, however, it became clear to me that the future of auto was not just electric. Drivers want motherboards instead of flesh and blood.
I still don't know what to think about all that. I mean, I love microcontrollers and have a collection of things I want to solder and write scripts to, but to pin down with neural networks are a few more calculus classes away for me to even fulfill the prerequisites for learning something useful to implement in a hobby garage. (And so on.) Of course, my husband is all about anything involving cars, even just legacy ICE models, but my interest was directly related to Elon Musk & Company, and they're pretty much set on self-driving. I just couldn't see myself retrofitting a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado with Tesla technology for an AI-powered vintage driver. I suppose an electric tractor can be a worthwhile effort, but I force.
Musk has said a couple of times now that buying something other than a Tesla is like buying a horse and carriage, not because of the 0-60 km / h time, track mode, or fantastic safety assessments. Other brands are lagging behind because of Tesla's complete self-driving progress.
So let's circle this discussion back to Taycan.
Above The Drive Alex Roy had some harsh words for anyone comparing Porsche's new EV to something Tesla: If you compare the brands, you have missed the point. Taycan is not about winning a drag race or fanning one's testosterone (or increased estrogen) from stop light to stop light. It's about driving a car. Period.
"The specifications almost mean nothing. It's designed to be run," Roy argues. "Taycan is for people who want to drive and keep doing it. That's why Porsche exists as a company. If you don't Understand that, no Porsche was ever made for you, and the company may as well not exist. "
Taycan's lack of a Tesla-style Autopilot is almost a feature," he says, in fact. My Twitter troll wasn't as elegant as Roy when I made a similar point, but I guess not every messenger has a knack for communication.
These duel concepts have left me a little … horrified (? ) … about where to place enthusiasm. Do I have reason for better EV design or better self-driving software? Will the car play anything in the end when the attention is either on nature or on cabin entertainment? Personally, I like newer taxis, but I cannot say that I have ever paid tribute to anyone with some thought about its special make and model. I imagine that my personal self-driving purchase decision would be similarly practical. In such a world, some basic things like comfort and a smooth ride will be appreciated, but the experience will no longer matter to the driver or driver-initiated abilities.
This probably seems like a foolish thing to get caught up in when levels 4 and 5 autonomy still feel like eons away, but I'm also the kind of person who gets tricked by rockets being "old" and "inefficient" for space travel at a long distance. Where is my warp drive already ??
(I would like to note that I don't like Star Trek episodes with too much plot over technical show windows. I'm also told I'm really fun at parties. Not sure if the two are related.)
So Although Porsche Taycan looks like it's going to make people of the Porsche type happy, is it just the latest display of inheritance that still doesn't "get" where EVs are headed? Or maybe there will always be a "manual" lane on freeways and some streets in the future for those who want to live dangerously?
This problem may not mean much for decades to come, but when my grandchildren are looking for something to ferry me to medical appointments, I can honestly tell them that I have been thinking about what I want for a very long time. Maybe I even made up for it then.