Are there differences driverless cars would make to our way of thinking about ourselves even if no totalitarian state attempts to control our mobility? Matthew Crawford, an auto mechanic who is also a philosopher, explains why he thinks so in Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road (June 2020). In a review essay, Patrick Keeney, associate editor of the C2C Journal, reflects on the questions that Crawford, whom he calls “a proud, knowledgeable and unapologetic gearhead” with a Ph.D. in political philosophy, raises:

According to the advocates of driverless cars, by ceding control of our vehicles to impersonal algorithms, there will be fewer traffic jams, fewer accidents, less parking congestion, fewer highway fatalities, and less harm to the environment. It’s an impressive list and a coup of some consequence. Or perhaps it’s impressive insofar as we are willing to accept the boosterism of the technocratic elites promoting driverless cars.