A country with legal weed, legal prostitution, and syrup-waffle sandwiches just got even better.
As reported by The Telegraph, the WEpod — a six-person, driverless shuttle — will soon begin traveling on public roads in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the service is much more Johnny Cab than Minority Report at the moment, because the WEpod…
A) Will only travel between the towns of Wageningen and Ede.
B) Will not operate during “challenging” conditions, such as night, rush hour, or bad weather (a.k.a. the times you need a self-driving robot-mobile the most).
C) Will only reach a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour.
Let’s put that speed into perspective. 25 kilometers per hour equals 15.5 miles per hour. Guess what can move nearly twice as fast as that?
So, while the WEpod is currently a worse transportation option than a pack donkey, it is important to remember that the first models of all great innovations in technology are usually disappointing. The first laptop had no battery. The first televisions cost the equivalent of $7,500. And the first Power Glove…wait, no, never mind, the Power Glove nailed it perfectly on the first try.
The WEpod is a slow and impractical mode of transportation now, but just imagine where the next steps in this technology will lead. At the very least, hopefully WEpod will extend services to Amsterdam, so the noble Dutch people will no longer be terrorized by disoriented tourists on rented bikes with Joe Rogan levels of THC in their system. Instead, the Dutch can focus their full attention on making informative rap songs about the benefits of public transport.
Not only will WEpod and future companies like WEpod (Apple isn’t about to leave that autonomous car loot on the table), save you from crashing your bike into any canals and/or tulip markets, driverless shuttles could change the way you travel for the better.
Imagine navigating labyrinthian European streets without bothering a single local with “d-donde…donde esta el hotel Holiday Inn Express? El Holiday Inn Expresso?” Imagine winding through the hills of Tuscany, and fully enjoying the majesty of the countryside instead of spending the entirety of your mental effort on keeping yourself from being forced off the road by homicidal Italians in Ferraris. Imagine traveling across Europe, or Mexico, or Egypt, or Brazil, or China, or anywhere in the world with the privilege of focusing on life outside your window, or connecting with fellow passengers, or being calm enough to embrace spontaneity by stopping at a local market for a snack.
Most amazing of all, imagine driving in a foreign country, without getting into an obligatory relationship-shredding argument with your significant other.
The WEpod will turn these dreams into a reality. And hopefully, in time, it will makes those dreams a reality at a slightly faster pace than a donkey’s gallop.