For children, one of the joys of playing golf is getting to drive the golf cart.
So is the news that a self-driving golf cart is being developed in Singapore good or bad for the game?
Rick Horrow, AKA "The Sports Professor," reported at GolfChannel.com that an electric Yamaha golf cart uses a webcam and 3D sensors to navigate and avoid obstacles while driving up to 15 miles per hour. It is being developed by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART).
Watch the driver-less golf cart in action:
A test run in 2015 saw the carts ferry 500 tourists along winding paths in a public garden busy with pedestrians and bicyclists. An encounter with a monitor lizard reportedly caused a stand off with the cart before both eventually let one another pass.
The good news is nobody got hurt, and everybody had fun. Ninety-eight percent of participants indicated they would ride again.
I'm a little more skeptical. Wouldn't taking away the chance to drive a cart be a devastating blow to junior golf?
Adults might be a bit more forgiving, but is a self-driven cart a welcome addition to the game or a technology best applied elsewhere? From my perspective, I would miss the autonomy to drive wherever I wanted. What if a deer or fox jumps out of the woods? I'd want to stop for a photo, but the cart would keep on trucking. I guess I'd need a test-run before passing final judgment.
A self-driven cart is essentially another assault on the traditional golf cart. Golf bikes and the GolfBoard -- a single rider transport that "surfs the earth" -- are all gaining momentum. Even Segways are available at a few courses around the country. The golf industry will certainly be keeping an eye on this trend, even if future cart drivers won't have to watch the road.