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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Driven by robots

I went to town on the bus this morning. The journey takes about twenty minutes, not long enough to take a book to read, but boring enough to make you read all the notices to pass the time. I was rather intrigued by this one, I hadn't seen it before.

I read it several times and thought how odd, what is the point of it. 'The bus company has invested in some clever technology that helps the driver understand where he can drive smoother.' Shouldn't that read, drive more smoothly? Not sure, I'm not too hot on grammar ;o) Some questions came to mind. Does this new technology tell the driver where all the pot holes are on the road so he can swerve round them to miss them? And doesn't driving more smoothly depend on how heavy footed he is, and how often he stamps on the gas and brake pedals?

Maybe the new technology is now driving the bus, and the person sat behind the wheel is merely pointing it in the right direction. It must be some amazing technology.

Not to worry about being late, the bus will still be on time whether it is a jerky ride or a smooth one. Perhaps now when you ring the bell to get off you needn't wait untill the bus comes to a halt before you get out of your seat. You can be up and waiting by the door ready to alight, that will save time. It will be much better than being propelled in a forward direction arse over tit down the gangway, when the driver stabs the brake to stop. 

This new technology will also reduce emissions. Well that's a good thing, less pollution. Wonder if they are running the buses on used chip fat now as well, that might help.

When we reached the bus station in town, I waited for all the passengers to get off, because I wanted to thank the driver for the smooth ride. That's what the notice said I had to do. To be honest, I did think the driver was trying a bit harder than normal to drive properly, so I thought he deserved a bit of praise. I also told him off for the sexist poster, some drivers are a 'her', not a 'him'. He said that point has been noticed by management.

I was still curious about this new technology, so nosey me asked the friendly driver. He pointed out a little black box on the dashboard, it had three lights on it. Somewhere under the dashboard is a pendulum, attached to a computer, and when it swings violently it shows a red light, a little swing is amber, and a smooth ride gives a green light. Basically the driver is being watched by big brother, it monitors how he/she is driving. Erratic driving gives poor fuel consumption as well as stressed and angry passengers. Each driver has a key to insert at the start of their shift, and from then on their every move is monitored. They can even check on their own performance by keying in a password on a web site set up by the company who makes and supplies the equipment.

I feel sorry for people who drive for a living now. It was bad enough having a tachograph, later a digi card, and then a vehicle tracker, watch my every move. I know they have to be very cost effective where fuel consumption is concerned, but now it's getting to the point where you don't even need half a brain to drive the thing any more. When I was still driving I always said, if they could train chimps to do the job, they would. Nowadays a driver is just a microchip, sit him down, plug him in, and the vehicle will take over his brain.

My God, it's frightening, when will it all end. When will we all become robots. By the way, did you notice that they have put up the fares to pay for all this technology.     


  1. hubby is a bus driver and they are doing the 'traffic light' thing soon at his depot in South Yorkshire.

    Josie x

  2. They obviously like using as many 'o's as possible too .....Lol :-)

    Sue xx

  3. I thought the idea was to get all the passengers to the back of the bus in a big pile.

  4. More money than sense somes to mind.
    In the navy I knew the Captain's driver. She had to learn to drive so that if the Captain was asleep in the back of the car(really conked out from too much wine, port and rum at a ship's dinner)she had to stop at lights , whatever, without waking him up. Honestly, do you think he would have noticed?
    Jane x

  5. You are correct in thinking that the notice should read 'more smoothly'. I pity public drivers.

  6. It looks like a 12-year-old girl or a blogger wrote that sign with all the "smooother" and so many ooooooos. They must have hada surplus.

    I think the "where" should be "that." It sounds like they are telling the driver not to jerk the bus around and peel off (if they can) and slam on the brakes. In other words pay attention and fuel consumption with be less. Obviously, the drivers just don't care until they are monitored. I am sure it is the same in the US.

    "If you think your driver is smooooother, please tell him." So Ilona, did you feel him to see if he was smoother? Smoother than what or who? As with signs in the US, I often wonder if a person with an eighth-grade education composed them.

    Some days I would hate to have a monitor on my driving. But, I am sure we will all have a gadget that we have to answer to, the way things are going.

    1. I was definitely talking about myself as one of the bloggers who has lots of oooooo in

  7. Just wait a few years and they will have robots driving the busses. No more man power needed. I`m sure I`ve seen a program on TV some time ago where they are tinkering around with cars now. The idea is to get it to recognise your voice, take instructions to where you want to be taken and then will automatically drive you there. You just sit and reax while the car takes you to your destination. A bit like utopia, wouldn`t you agree. That`s what the world is going to come to eventually. hopefully I will not be around to see it happening when it does. Mad world!

  8. An excuse to increase the fares to pay for this 'smooooooother' ride ?
    In your picture there is a notice about fares increases, they have to justify it somehow.

  9. Lol I have this wonderful image in my head now of a robot Meanqueen blogging about how she only buys second hand robotic parts and does all her own services to keep costs down.
    Made my giggle all morning.
    x x x

  10. Forget about educating the driver, I think you should tell the management to invest in English lessons for themselves. What a stupid notice. I'm sure those lights will be distracting the driver aswell.
    Love from Mum

  11. You are quite correct Ilona, it should be more smoothly, whether you think you know grammar or not, you must have an inbuilt feeling about it, which is obviously what they have not.

    I use the buses and am amazed how jerkily they drive them. How is that possible with the technology they have? You could imagine it with the older ones and it is up to the driver how gently he brakes and accelerates. I have had that feeling often, being propelled A over T, this is usually in Manchester City centre.

  12. Incidentally, it is usually the female bus drivers who drive 'more smoothly'.


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