My laptop lost and self-driving cars

Today I will tell you a story, that happened to me a few months ago.

I was travelling between the Benelux Car-Sharing Symposium in The Hague and the Civitas Conference in Gdynia (Poland).

At the security check at Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) I left my laptop. This gave me a nice anecdote to start my presentation about self-driving cars at the conference in Gdynia. Why? Well, I’ll explain it to you.

Vincent Evers op Benelux Autodeelsymposium

Vincent Evers at the Benelux Car-Sharing Symposium (Picture Michiel Ton)

Flashback to September 27th. That day Taxistop, Autodelen.net and ShareNL organized the Benelux Carsharing symposium at The Hague (The Netherlands). After the closing reception with mandatory croquettes, I needed a lift to Schiphol Airport, from where I had to take off to Poland to share some insights about self-driving cars.

Vincent Everts, a Dutch trend-watcher, offered me a ride in his week new Tesla Model X. Tesla’s latest model and a luxurious full-electrical car with self-driving features. To top things off, he even offered me to take place behind the steering wheel. Woohoo!!!

Being anything but a car freak, it still gave me goosebumps. And even though I had some considerations about the price of this car, I took the opportunity to take it for a spin.

A 100k € car?! Awesome that Vincent wants to share it with me!

Through Cambio, Taxistop’s car sharing scheme, I already had some experience with driving electrical cars. They run much more smoothly and switch way better than my Berlingo at home.

Once we got into traffic I saw my chance to test the self-driving mode of this state-of-the-art vehicle. Two clicks at the left of my steering wheel and the car switched to self-driving mode, allowing me to lean back. It was amazing to see that the car, which focuses on the cars in front of us and the road marks, even took turns fluently without any human intervention.

To let go of the steering wheel and put your trust into a robot was kind of scaring

tesla

At first we took the highway but after a while we took a more local road to avoid the jams in front of us. Because the car (still) can’t navigate on its own, I had to intervene. Once we got back into the traffic flow I could let go of the steering wheel again. But here too, traffic was really busy. I started to fear that I would miss my flight.

I should have taken the train from The Hague to Schiphol

At last we arrived at Schiphol, one hour before departure. Close call but I made it! I quickly checked in and went through the security check and made it in time to the gate.

Flabbergasted by this experience, I forgot to take my laptop out of the scanner

It wasn’t until I got on the plane that I realized it: I left my laptop at the security check. Still overwhelmed by my first self-driving experience and with my head in the clouds I completely forgot to take my laptop out of the scanner. My plan to work on my presentation and prepare myself for tomorrows conference fell through.

The title of my presentation: “Self-driving cars: Why we should keep the wheel in own hands” was built on a previous blog. It’s ok to let go of the actual wheel. But we have to keep the wheel to plans our mobility in the future in our own hands. A future where self-driving cars are being shared as much as possible and where public transport forms the backbone of our mobility system. A future where technology leads to more safety, accessibility and more qualitative public space.

But if we see the technology as a goal, then we could be blinded and we might bring a future in which technology leads to more (individual) car trips and more car ownership. Technology is great, really enjoyable, but it is not the objective for societal planning.

In Gdynia I made good use of what had happened to me. I’ve used my story as an introduction and so strengthened my message.

And my laptop? Well, I’m writing this text on the same laptop. He was found and sent back via courier.

P.S. Vincent, thank you very much for the lift, confidence and brilliant experience!