The phrase “driverless car” is clunky and imprecise. See that parking lot? Those are driverless cars. Ugh.
Worse, “driverless car” is just like “horseless carriage,” which we used for a few years and then for obvious reasons threw away.
I propose we call them autonomes. It’s pronounced just like it looks. It comes from the French word meaning “autonomous,” and in French it’s already used to describe drones, Google Car, and other vehicles that make most decisions on their own.
There are two added benefits to this word:
First, it shortens to the old familiar “auto,” so it’s hardly even a coinage at all.
Second, using the word “autonome” for self-driving cars will cause the carmakers and autophiles of the world to Google-bury a loathsome group of neo-Nazis. Couldn’t happen to a more worthy bunch!
Image by Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.