Driverless in Carmandu
The world is making amazing progress in automotive technology, and this means Nepal will soon leapfrog rapidly from a country of drivers without cars, to one of driverless cars.
That is why the Ass would like to know what the higher up authoritarians are doing to prepare Kathmandu for self-driving cars. Lack of preparation could mean chaos on Kathmandu's presently smooth-flowing streets. Actually, self-driving cars would be the perfect antidote to all the hazards and obstacles to road trafficking in the Valley. Here is how:
- Google Maps will have to train itself to geolocate your exact destination, since there are no street names and numbers in Kathmandu. Driverless cars should be able to instinctively detect their position using Virtual Reality so they know when to turn left at the uncollected garbage pile at Bag Bazar, and after 150m, drive up a pedestrian overhead bridge at Jamal, and then home to Ass-on.
- Visual cues are not enough for driverless cars which will need olfactory sensors to navigate the Dungmati Corridor. Your vehicle just follows odour emanating from the Sewage Canal by literally smelling its way to the destination.
- Natural intelligence of a human driver will be superseded by artificial intelligence of a driverless vehicle which can detect the large sinkhole in the middle of the street in Lazimpat by promptly falling into it.
- The real revolution will happen when the Office of Transportation allows motorcycles to also be driverless. Self-driving two-wheelers will make both pillion rider and driver obsolete.
- Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya declared Kathmandu a 'smart city', and driverless cars will make it a Genius City. But first, we have to get the software rewritten so vehicles can drive on any side of the road and also follow Kathmandu’s new smart traffic lights. Green: Go fast; Yellow: Go faster; Red: Step on it.
- On Nepal’s highways, when a tipper truck in front gives a right signal it doesn’t mean he is turning right. It is trying to tell the self-driving car that it can safely overtake him. This feature has been retained also for driverless tipper trucks.
- Self-driving microbuses must learn that in Nepal, we don’t just over-take, we take-over the road. When God made cars, he equipped them with horns. Driverless micros should honk pointlessly just to prove that they exist, following the polite instruction on the backs of lorries.
- The best thing about driverless cars is that we can drink and drive again.