I was eating the last of my toast as I sat down into the driver seat of my “CloudCar”. Customer visit at 09:30am. As I slipped my SmartPhone into the cradle, the dashboard screen came to life and opened the NavSat app with an error message that my maps were out of date and would I like to download the latest files. “Why not”, I thought ? I confirmed and the download started. Except that the data plan on the onboard 4G LTE connection had reached it’s data cap. The kids had been watching video on the way to the beach and used it up. So I confirmed the purchase of some extra bandwidth (I chose the middle plan because I always do), went back to the NavSat and restarted the updates.
It didn’t take long for the NavSat to reboot. 4G is faster than you know sometimes and it’s worth the extra money. I used the SmartPhone integration with the car to send the destination address over. The NavSat showed the best path and some alternates. I selected the best path and got an error message from the onboard car computer. “Bugger” I said. That path required an extra road license to use the toll road which I didn’t have. “I’ll go the long way”, I said to myself. Save some money.
The car computer alerted my this time. I had consumed my licensed road distance for the month on the battery packs. I had recently moved to a consumption plan on the batteries which looked a lot cheaper in the online plan calculator. I could accept the overage charge on the plan at just a small premium. Sigh, alright. The chassis mileage was ok though with plenty of license left there, engine hours were still good too. I went down the pricing dashboard checking everything else.
The car computer sounded almost apologetic when it beeped again. My tyre license was also close to expiring and the longer trip would take me into the warning period on my tyres. Last time, they had sold me a licensing scheme with the SmartTyres so that I could pay for my tyres “by the mile”. I figured I could always drive less, save some money and this might actually encourage my wife be more conscientious about fewer trips to the shop. Apparently not. I confirmed the booking at the tyre re-licensing centre (whatever happened to calling it a tyre replacement, I wondered).
I was starting to run late by now. The car dashboard popped up a friendly message having predicted that I was almost certain to run late and I could purchase a one-day license for the faster route. “Like I have a choice” I muttered and confirmed the purchase. It took about 30 seconds for exchange with the traffic controller to confirm the license and deliver the path receipt to the onboard computer.
Except the car wouldn’t go. The engine in the car wasn’t licensed to run at full speed on the motorway, that was an optional extra that we hadn’t needed when I bought the car. Would I like the temporary one day speed-delimit pass ? “No, I would not and, jeesh, the price on that one day pass was robbery”, I muttered. The computer apologised politely and took 2 minutes to download the unlock code.
And then we headed off. I went the best possible route, at the fastest speed from the best of all options. “These CloudCars are just brilliant”, I thought to myself “Who would want to own one of these pieces of junk when they need all of these different services to keep them running”.