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As today is the first day of 2016, it is a good time to think about the future. Or as some would have it, THE FUTURE!

Seems like by now we’d have arrived at the future, but it pretty much seems as though that outside of the proliferation of iPhones and the remarkable disappearance of travel agents and book stores, it is nearly as same as it ever was.

This is a vision of THE FUTURE:


That’s a GM concept car from 1956, the Firebird II.

Given that we’re 60 years in time later, you might think that we’d have cars that look something like that, but the only resemblance with 2016 models seems to be the fact that the Firebird II has tires. Seems like Harley Earl was thinking, perhaps, of the 22nd century.

The Firebird II was to drive on the “Safety Autoway.” This is an early example of vehicle-to-infrastructure. Said autoway would have a metallic conductor embedded in it. As a result, the Firebird II could operate in an autonomous mode.

Still waiting. . . .

The point here is that it is grand to have visions of the future. It’s even better to give physical shape to those visions.

But while there are those today who intone AUTONOMY just as those others talked of THE FUTURE, know that said automated driving goes back a long, long way and we’re just starting to get there.

And to quote a philosopher that we lost in 2015: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

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