When will we have self-driving shuttle rigs?
Eddy has a dream: Drive to the put-in, launch the canoe, and the car drives itself to the takeout. No shuttle required. But when will his dream come true? Self-driving Google prototype cars are motoring all over California right now, and Nissan recently announced plans for self-driving cars by 2020, but no one Eddy talked to thinks that’s realistic. “The technology has to be bulletproof,” says General Motors spokesman Dan Flores. “Ninety-five percent reliable isn’t good enough when you are talking about cars and safety.” Right now, the technology is good enough for GM to roll out something called “Supercruise” in 2017 Cadillacs. On highways only, the car will steer itself (hands and feet free) between lane lines and automatically slow down and speed up “in stop-and-go traffic,” says Flores. The car will use GPS, LIDAR (radar that works with light rays), and cameras that see the painted lines. “That technology will get more and more accurate,” says Flores, “but self-driving cars are more than 10 years away.” One big issue is that the pointy headed insurance zombies have to figure out who’s gonna pay when the first self-driving car goes all Dukes of Hazzard through the middle of Duluth—the owner, or Chevy? As for the four-wheeling aspects, “the military is very interested in automated caravans, which are often through rough terrain and during wartime, so they’ll get that figured out,” Flores says. Bring it, says Eddy. He’s tired of loaning his Suzuki Sidekick (modified with roll bar and winch) to Mom in exchange for shuttle bunny duties.
What’s in Eddy’s bug-out canoe?
Survivalists pack bug-out bags so they can head for refuge when, as we like to say, SHTF, whether the emergency scenario is the collapse of the American financial system or Karl Jepperson figuring out you’re the one who glitter-bombed his Voyageur costumes. Of course, canoes carry quite a bit of stuff, so Eddy will be living pretty high compared to all those ridge-walking hillbilly preppers. Holstered into his designated bug-out canoe (BOC) are the usual things: lighters, flashlight, big ol’ knife, etc. But Eddy has his own take on the BOC, ‘cause as we like to say, if you aren’t prepping, you aren’t thinking. Like a couple of pounds of vacuum-sealed Cheetos. They taste great, sure, but also work pretty well as a fire-starter (ed. note: This is true). There are tampons to staunch wounds, or to stick into your ears to drown out the screams of the folks getting rounded up into death camps while Eddy paddles to his secret hideout. One thing he learned when he bugged out after the Jell-O salad incident last winter is that life after the apocalypse can get boring. So, he’s got a couple of stashed bottles of Yukon Jack and a banjo just in case.
— Got a question for Eddy? Email it to AskEddy@canoekayak.com
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