Drive: the Documentary


To many of us, the idea of driverless cars is a sort of vague, partial future vision. We’ve heard the rumours, but so far haven’t noticed anything truly new on our streets. The reality is, the autonomous movement is coming up fast. Like so many changes on a grand scale it will be gradual at first … then all of a sudden, whether we're ready or not.

Advocates promise a more convenient, safer and cleaner world. There are quirks to work out still, but this new form of AI, we're told, will revolutionize our lives on the scale of the television, the smart phone even the internet itself. It all sounds quite amazing really, and hard to argue with; no one wants more traffic jams, car crashes or pollution.

What has been completely absent so far is any discussion of what, exactly, we will be giving up? Enter Drive, the documentary. At the heart of our film we ask: how and why does driving matter to people, and to society? How has it contributed to our life experience? Our sense of self? And what happens to us if we no longer get behind the wheel of a car, and actually drive it.

Our relationship with cars and with driving specifically is one we take for granted, but it actually reflects something much larger and more profound in the human experience than we realize; a primal, tactile relationship between man and machine, a rite of passage, a source of freedom, a form of identity, an emotional connection, romance, work, human bonding and much more. 

Drive is a character driven POV documentary that looks lovingly into the rear-view mirror to tell the grand story of our romance with driving. Turns out, there’s a much larger meaning to this breakup than we thought.

Built around an eclectic cast of characters, our film conveys the moving story of what we stand to lose in a future where autonomous cars take over our role as drivers. Each person in this unique cast artfully delivers a different, but related aspect of our narrative; driving as independence, as control, as exhilaration, identity, life-purpose, as a job, a coming of age, as societal construct, as a human  right to be fought for. Set against the robotic backdrop of space-age change, their voices form a love letter to an endearing romance between man and his favourite machine. Yet ultimately, this is a love story about much more than cars. 

The relationship we’ve built with our cars over the past one-hundred plus years is truly profound.  It has helped define us as individuals, but also culturally, socially, and politically. Cities were crafted in their image. Great freedoms were realized through cars.  Economic engines were generated.  Personal liberties exploded.     

Slipping into the driver’s seat as a teenager we all experienced it; that primitive, slightly dangerous feeling mixed with unlimited possibility. Pure joy and anticipation. Cars set the stage for life changing journeys. Freedom from the herd. Precious privacy. Escape. 

With the rise of autonomous vehicles just over the horizon, that emotional tie between humans and cars is about to be severed. Self-driving vehicles don’t need you anymore. Yes, safety stands to be improved in this new driverless world, perhaps congestion and green spaces too. But it comes at a cost, especially to those who drive. T

Produced with additional funding from:

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