Despite being a driving instructor closing on my sixth decade, I embrace new technology that helps improve care safety and makes the whole overall driving experience better for the person. The ADI industry though, which incidentally is older than even I am, I feel as a whole has always been resistant.
I remember when cruise control first came out many of my colleagues in the industry were resistant about this, going so far as to say it would result in an increase in crashes. Some described how cruise control was the beginning of the end, yet here we are decades later as driving instructors, still every bit as important as we ever were.
Are we so insecure in our importance in people's lives and improving road safety that we must go around fearing every new technological innovation in motoring?
Personally, and I know I am not the only one, I see technology as providing more opportunities for driving instructors. With each addition in technology to cars such as cruise control or parking assistance we as driving instructors should embrace these as more things to teach to future and current pupils. Admittedly, self-driving cars on the surface appear to eliminate the need for driving instructors altogether but I think this is such a poor way of understanding exactly where driverless cars are right now and where they could be in the future.
The fact remains that driverless cars are at least a decade away to becoming commercially available and legally permissible. Not only this, they will only be affordable to people who would otherwise own cars that cost over £35,000.
How many of your students will be buying a car costing that much? Like with all technology it will take a long time for the costs to come down low enough to be affordable to everybody.
If we look at technology such as the personal computer, this took nearly a decade to become affordable enough for everyday users. It will take at least two decades for this to happen to driverless cars.
Personally, I may be too old to see another two decades of driver training but even if I were a young driving instructor with decades more to go, I would not be worried about driverless cars.
Consider this simple fact. A large majority of people drive because they enjoy driving and this will continue. Instead of fearing every new technological innovation we should be embracing it and properly understanding the opportunities as well as the risks they pose to us as an industry.