Saturday, January 19, 2008

Improving Commuter Efficiency

With more and more people spending at least an hour in the car at either end of the workday, we need to find ways to make best use of that time.

I'm always running a few minutes late. If you don't mind driving like a sociopath, you can make up some deficits en route, but an earlier start would be better. So how can the harried commuter get into the car sooner?

Step one: replace the driver's seat with a toilet. It will have to be a high-tech toilet, converting methane to fuel and flash-drying the waste using heat from the car's exhaust system or something. You science people figure it out. I'm just a visionary.

Step two: set up an in-car shower system, perhaps a sequence of jets to wash areas of the body separately, rather than steaming up the whole interior with a complete drenching. It could even be mostly waterless, using mechanized swabs of some sort. Again, I'm only the futurist here.

With the bulky in-dash sound system replaced by something that can download digital media directly from the Great Wireless Internet in the Sky, the slot in the dash that used to receive primitive offerings like CDs and even cassette tapes can now house a toaster. The microwave oven is already in the glove compartment. The cappuccino machine might go in the center console between the front seats.

Advances in computerized car control can take care of navigational chores while your hands and attention are temporarily occupied by getting dressed.

All this makes much more sense than teleconferencing and catching up on emails while you drive. Do all that crap at the office, where you're really paid to do it. Spend the time formerly wasted in traffic on the mundane tasks you used to try to cram into the minutes between crawling out of bed and leaping into the car. Knowing you have ample time to eat breakfast and take care of other morning needs, you won't feel as rushed and angry in the crush of other commuters. Have another bagel!

For those concerned with fitness, various exercise equipment could be adapted to the car as well. Multiple control systems would allow you to pilot the vehicle with any appendage, freeing up others for other uses. You are limited only by your imagination.

As far as I'm concerned, most of this only applies to the morning commute. In the evening, all I need is a robotic hand to come out of the dashboard and slap me across the face to wake me up if I start to doze off. Robotic attachments could perform a number of tasks. Feel free to visualize. You don't have to share it with me. In fact, I'd prefer if you didn't. But let your mind roam.

No comments: