There will come a time, maybe twenty years hence, when we look back and marvel at how primitive was our mode of transport. Everyone to his or her own, figuring their way to their destination, and actually driving their vehicle themselves! By then, all vehicles will be networked and The System will work out the most efficient route for millions of transport units, plotting routes according to all current requested destinations and diverting part of the traffic through different roads in order to avoid congestion. Those humans who insist that they should drive will be humoured and allowed to stay behind the steering wheel, but their autonomy will be much reduced. The System will immediately intervene if the human driver makes an error of judgement creating the risk of an accident. The System will strongly advise for an alternative route to be taken to avoid a congested area. For the rest of us who prefer to let The System do the driving itself, we settle down into the plush seat, read a book, talk or cuddle with fellow passengers (if they so wish) or if we’re alone activate the internet connection inbuilt in our brains (remember, this is 20 years in the future) until The System announces in a sweet voice: “You have arrived at your destination,” and after you disembark it drives the car to the nearest available parking spot.
Well, let the future citizens of 2038 sneer as much as they like at our present-day primitive mode of transportation. Google maps is already doing quite well, thank you very much. I discovered this while driving south to the Château de Lavaux–Sainte–Anne the other time. There are roadworks on the motorway, the E411 that connects Brussels to the southern tip of Belgium and further on to Luxembourg. These roadworks are creating long traffic jams and Google maps was well aware of this. There we go, that word, “aware”. I should almost say “she” when referring to this machine, but will stick for the time being to “it”… it directed me through an alternative route saving me from a frustrating experience locked behind the jammed traffic.
Later, coming back, she (sorry, can’t help it) considered the same problem and advised that in spite of the congestion due to roadworks, the main route was still the fastest. Then, a few minutes later, she changed her mind and asked if I would prefer to take a detour to avoid the traffic. “Of course,” I tapped, and again I was saved a lot of clutch pedal pushing and gear changes in the infernal heat. I also got to see some bonus countryside views over and above what I had already enjoyed the previous few hours. So, again, thank you Google maps. I can see they’re proceeding well on the way to the future ‘The System’ scenario described above.
But this isn’t the point of this post, dear reader. I only wished to mention it by way of introduction and it ended up hogging the whole space. I just wanted to share with you a number of pictures that I took during a 12 km walk starting at the Château de Lavaux–Sainte–Anne, meandering through beautiful farmland, woods and tiny villages, and coming back to the Château.
Pity that by the time that I had consumed the obligatory beer, produced locally, after I had finished my walk, and a delicious thousand-calorie coupe brésilienne ice cream that undid all the weight-loss benefit acquired through my exertions, visiting hours to the castle were already over.
Too bad. Time to let Google maps take over and show me back home.
I should mention that I found out about Lavaux-Sainte-Anne through a very interesting and useful blog that I have recently started to follow. It’s called Discovering Belgium. The name of the blog speaks for itself. Here is the link about the walk, on the same site.