What’s It Like to Ride in a Self-Driving Car? Business Insider Found Out, Thanks to Valeo

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 23: Traffic converges on highway I-495 South just west of the nation's capital on one of the busiest travel days of the year November 23, 2011 in McLean, Virginia. The American Automobile Association projects that 42.5 million people are likely to drive, fly, or take the train to their Thanksgiving gatherings, the largest number since the beginning of the recession. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ride in a self-driving car? Given that we’ve been hearing about them as a real, honest-to-goodness technological innovation for a few years now (hi there, Google car!), it’s only natural that most of us would start getting curious. And guess what? We’re in luck: Automotive company Valeo recently invited Business Insider’s Will Wei and Jay Yarrow to take a test drive (test ride? I mean, the car drives itself, so can we really still call the experience a test drive?) in a vehicle equipped with its “Cruise4U” system, and they videoed the whole thing.

They rode around the streets of Las Vegas, and — perhaps unsurprisingly — it’s pretty impressive: It starts, it drives, it brakes itself, and so on. But it’s worth noting that just because your car drives itself, that doesn’t mean you can totally tune out. The difference between a highly automated vehicle and an autonomous one, the Valeo rep explained to Wei and Yarrow, is that the driver is still responsible for handling the highly automated one. You kind of have to work with the car to enable it to drive itself — being aware of your surroundings, making sure the driving environment is safe and legal, and taking back control of the car if necessary (which can be done at the push of a button). Head on over to Business Insider to watch the video.

As Wei noted, though, “It turns out that with so many variables on the road, driving a self-driving car can be just as stressful as driving a regular car.” To which all I can say is: True. That. I’m a little bit anxious, kind of a control freak, and occasionally have trust issues, so I imagine the stages of riding in a self-driving car would go something like this for me:

1. Trepidation

I don’t know how I feel about this whole “driverless car” thing, but I guess I may as well give it a shot…

2. Intrigue

Huh. Well, this is… interesting…

3. Unease

Wait, we’re going out on the highway? No — no, I don’t think that’s a good idea…

4. Silent Freak Out

Remember that whole thing where I said this wasn’t a good idea?

6. Verbal Freak Out

ABORT! ABORT! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

6. Extreme Terror

*Hyperventilates*

7. Blackout

And upon waking up…

8. Confusion

It’s over?

9. Acceptance

Well… I guess that wasn’t so bad.

10. Round Two

Let’s do it again! 

Images: Giphy (10)

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