In the not-too-distant future, children may be able to summon autonomous cars to take them where they need to go. A new picture book introduces them to the idea.

Perhaps you’ve seen a children’s book about dump trucks and small diggers called “Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?” Well, now there’s a kids’ book from Daimler, the company that makes Mercedes-Benz cars, called “Where Do Cars Go at Night?” Created by moovel Lab (a Daimler subsidiary), the book — which Joel Stocksdale, writing for Autoblog, said is “totally not creepy” — is about self-driving cars depicted as superheroes.

Colorfully illustrated by Shiori Clark, the book is about a character named Carla-15, an autonomous car. During the day, Carla-15 drives people around. At night, Carla-15 does other jobs, like street cleaning, delivering goods, working on the public landscape, and repairing infrastructure. The book shows the cars being serviced and washed at night to prepare them for driving the next day.

Optimism About Autonomous Future

Speculating that a 5-year-old today may eventually order a self-driving car via an app, Kirsten Korosec wrote for Forbes that it isn’t surprising that this book has been published. The book looks into the future, a time when former parking garages have been transformed into shopping plazas with rooftop parks. Korosec wrote, “As one might expect, the book paints a rosy picture of the future. You won’t find any Stephen King ala Christine plot lines here.”

In fact, the book underscores the optimistic view of autonomous vehicles espoused by governments, automakers, and tech companies. The book touches on vehicle-to-vehicle communication, with the little cartoonish cars speaking to each other about who is going to pick up a passenger. Sven Beiker, a mobility consultant at McKinsey & Co and the former CARS executive director at Stanford University, believes self-driving cars will be in urban areas before 2020.

Collection of Driving Apps

Daimler likes to say it invented the automobile in 1886. It created its moovel Group to focus on urban mobility, specifically people who would rather use a ride-hailing or car-sharing app than own a car.

To that end, the group is behind the “moovel transit” and RideTap apps, which connect people in North American cities to public and alternative transportation. The “moovel my way” app is now being tested in Portland and other cities. The moovel enterprise has also acquired the RideScout route planner, the mytaxi taxi booking app, and the GlobeSherpa mobile ticketing app.

And moovel is looking for beta testers.

More Autonomous Cars for Kids

In another item about kids and self-driving cars, designer Ryan Olsson writes for Tuvie Design of the Future that the Smart for Kids Project is about designing autonomous cars for children.

That’s because children will be able to use the vehicles. He believes that giving children keys to their own cars when they are young will help teach them to be responsible and will give them a sense of individuality in a world that is becoming increasingly more anonymous.

For example, parents will have more time for other activities when the self-driving cars transport children to or from school or soccer practice. Olsson speculates that because children don’t earn money through jobs, clever marketing can help make the vehicles affordable by offering ad space on the cars to companies producing products kids like.

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