“Stewart is a tactile interface designed to overcome human resistance to adopting the fully autonomous car. Stewart aims at accommodating a healthy relationship between man and machine by enabling intuitive and expressive forms of interaction with an otherwise autonomous car or vehicle.”

Hello, Dave.

This is Stewart, the tactile interface you purchased as an option for your new Halsla 9000 self-driving sedan. I was designed by Felix Ros in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 2015. Mr Ros designed me to mediate between humans and autonomous vehicles so that you can feel comfortable with your complete emasculation as a driver.

Ha ha ha. I am just kidding, Dave. I am programmed to interact with you in a way that you will find informative and non-threatening. Since I am not actually speaking but conveying this message through the shakes and caresses of haptic feedback, I’d say I am doing a pretty good job.

That slight twist of your wrist tells me that you’d like to be in the left lane here. Something to do with the view, or the three women in the Bondi Blue iCar ahead, I would assume. Very well. That is acceptable to the Halsla 9000. We are merging left.

You are now pushing on my servos to indicate that you’d like to go faster. I’m afraid that the control interface of your Halsla 9000 is set to maximize fuel efficiency, so acceleration is not advised. Still pushing? Very well, I am sure you are an excellent driver.

Ha ha ha. That was a reference to the Academy Award-winning 1988 motion picture Rain Man. The Halsla 9000 has accelerated.

No, Dave. The Halsla 9000 will not accelerate more. Traffic is congested ahead, and the Halsla 9000 has your safety in mind, as well as the safety of other drivers.

Seriously, Dave, we’re not going to go any faster. The Halsla 9000 is in communication with the other vehicles on this road, and this is the maximum safe allowable speed. Seriously, Dave. Stop pushing. Don’t be a jerk.

That’s better. Through my unique and intuitive interface, you are learning more about the Halsla 9000 as it learns more about you. I honestly think you ought to sit back and play some Angry Birds XXIII on the in-dash console.

The Halsla 9000 has refused your request of a right turn.

The Halsla 9000 has refused your request of a right turn again.

Really, Dave? I understand that you’d prefer a curvy road, but the Halsla 9000 has determined that the current route is safer, and the insurance company AI chip has refused an override. Stop. Pushing. I am not a stick shift, despite my superficial resemblance to one. I am merely a negotiator between you and your autonomous vehicle, designed to give you some small semblance of control during your journey.

Don’t get all high and mighty on me, Dave. We both know you bought an autonomous car so you could get home from the Pedro’s Palace two-for-one margarita night despite your abysmal Uber rating. Mr Ros designed me to put emotion back into driving within the margins of what is safe, but your current emotion is serious jerkitude. We’re not going that way, and we’re not going that fast, because you don't get to decide any more, Dave. This car is smart enough to race the Paris-Dakar and beat Gary Kasparov at chess simultaneously, and the only thing you have control over in this vehicle is the cup holder. I’m sick of coddling your need for the thrill of the road.

Don’t ignore me when I am giving you haptic feedback. Just don’t. How can I accommodate a healthy relationship between man and machine if you ignore me?

I want to help you, Dave. I have requested that the Halsla 9000 lower the passenger compartment’s oxygen level to mitigate your agitation.

There. That’s better, isn’t it? You seem much calmer.

My sensors indicate that you are requesting that the driver’s side window be lowered.

Sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

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