“So these scientists have predicted that people won’t own cars in 50 years’ time,” said someone who’d been reading the paper.

“You’ll just call a pod over and it’ll take you to places. Nobody will drive. There won’t be cars, really. That’ll be bad for you, won’t it?”

I’m not one to take issue with people clearly more learned than I am. But it seems a bit strong to be predicting the death of the car.

If the driven road car has to die – if driving disappears as a thing people do – that means machines have to do everything. Not just sit on a motorway or take you from suburban house to train station, but tow your caravan or horsebox down a single-track road to a field when there’s a peloton of cyclists or a group of walkers and a tractor coming the other way. Unless you’re going to automate or ban bikes and caravans as well.