Saturday, 3 November 2012

of Future Cars and Diapers

Recently I received an email from a friend announcing a new car by Mercedes Benz, the SCL600. These four pictures of the car were attached, plus a couple others, and that's about all I know about the email. Like most such emails, it had probably been forwarded countless times before I got it, and so I cannot attest to it's origin or the origin of these pictures.

At first glance it looks like a nice car, but one with a very unique difference; namely, it has no steering wheel or pedals. Thanks in large part to Photoshop and the like, these days one never really knows for sure exactly what one is looking at. The saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words" doesn't ring quite the same as it once did. Almost any picture can be manipulated these days.
So to find out the truth of this futuristic-looking  car, I turned to Snopes (check it out) to see what I could learn. What struck me right off the start is that this car, though not in production (yet), is really nothing new at all. As a matter of fact, the world was already introduced to this car 16 years ago at the 1996 Paris Motorshow.
I have already driven joystick equipped vehicles, but at a greatly reduced speed. For me this was in the form of operating heavy construction equipment. Having said that, and given that experience, this probably wouldn't take too much to get used to.  Certainly, it would be fun to take the Mercedes Benz SCL600 out for a bit of a spin though, wouldn't you agree?

I suspect that, as my original email suggested, those who wouldn't have any real trouble with a car like this are the Nintendo and Xbox generation. Why? Because they grew up with video games and joysticks. Unlike us old codgers, they've been driving cars like this on their TV screens since diaper-days.

So one day, when they put you and me back into diapers, perhaps our grandchildren or great grandchildren, will occasionally come in a car like this and pick us up from the nursing home for Sunday dinner with the family. And what will you and I do? We'll shake our heads in wonderment at their steering wheel-less car much like our grandparents or great grandparents must have done when, on their horse drawn buggy of yesteryear, they saw Henry Ford's horseless carriage go past them down the street.

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