The automobile, noted one scholar in 1907, “is variously referred to as [an] auto, autocar, car, machine, motor, motor car, and other terms equally as common but neither complimentary nor endearing.” Motorists, for their part, included “brutes,” “fat-headed marauders,” “honking highwaymen,” and “flippant fool[s]” who wrote themselves “down both a devil and an ass.” One hopes the horseless carriages of the future will earn monikers that are more flattering. In the meantime, we are left with assorted technical phrases like “electronic blind spot assistance, crash avoidance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, lane departure warnings and traffic jam and queuing assistance” to describe cars that (already) help us drive them, and with competing terms like fully automated, fully autonomous, self-driving, driverless, autopiloted, and robotic to describe cars that (may someday) drive us. Read more about My Other Car Is a ... Robot? Defining Vehicle Automation
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