As a person who has been driving a cab in New York City for 38 years, I ask you: what was the best ride you ever had in a taxi? Was it one in which you arrived at your destination quickly and without a problem, but there was no conversation with the driver? I’ll bet it was not. I think the best ride you ever had in a taxi was one in which getting to your destination was only a part of a much more interesting experience.We are now facing what some contend will be the next inevitable advance in technology, the driverless automobile. With that thought in mind, Uber and Volvo have created a partnership to bring a fleet of driverless taxis to the streets of Pittsburgh. If the age of self-driving cars is upon us, what's keeping them off the roads? Read moreThese cars will actually have a driver behind the wheel, but that’s just for the trial. The goal is to have no driver at all. You will summon a car on your Uber app and a driverless taxi will arrive at your door. Presumably it will be the beginning of the end of the profession of taxi driver.I don’t think so. I suggest that what we’re seeing these days about driverless cars from Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple, and from automotive behemoths like Ford, GM and Volvo, may turn out to be just so much hype. It has happened before. Remember the Segway? Before its debut in December 2001, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying it was “as big a deal as the PC”. John Doerr, the IT玩时时彩输很多怎么办 venture capitalist, speculated that it may be bigger than the internet. But the Segway never caught on with its presumed users. For one thing, it wasn’t superior to the bicycle in terms of its usability. But more relevant to what may be happening today, nobody really thought the whole thing through. Yes, it was, and is, a technological marvel. But its success was assumed. How could such a cool thing like a machine that basically responded to your thoughts fail? I ask you, Travis Kalanick and company, have you really done your research? How can you be so sure that passengers would take to being in a car, alone, without a driver? Have you hired independent market researchers to get real answers, or are you just assuming? Prejudiced as I may be, I feel that human contact is more important to people than high-tech billionaires think it is. In the taxi business, a driver is not just an appendage of the car. Like bartenders and hair stylists, he or she is someone with whom a joke or a story can be shared; someone who will listen to passengers’ troubles. For a tourist, the driver is an ambassador of the new country. Human contact counts in the taxi business. It’s hard to imagine anyone answering the question,“What was the best ride you ever had in a taxi?” by saying, “it was with that terrific robot who drove me home from McCloskey’s Bar after Mary’s birthday party!” Right? Now, I’m not suggesting that all taxi drivers are there to be your therapist, financial consultant or confessor. I admit there may be a few lousy drivers on the road. There are some bad apples in any bunch. But there could be bad robots in any bunch, too. Imagine you’re standing on the corner of Third Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan. An autonomous taxi pulls up, you get in the vehicle, and you tell the robot you want to go across the bridge to the corner of Flatbush and Myrtle. A message appears on the screen in front of you… I don’t go to Brooklyn. How are you going to argue with the robot?? What’s your most memorable cab ride? Would it have happened in a driverless car? Tell us in the comments.