I like to track the ongoing development of the self-driving car - the "autonomous vehicle" that is promised to us any day now. That amazing technical engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk says we could have the "Autopilot" self-driving car by the end of this year.
The invention is promised to reduce accidents, improve environmental conditions and generally streamline road transport. You'll just get into the vehicle, programme its destination and then sit back while the algorithms pilot you wherever you wish to go.
This concept fascinates me, because, to my great regret, my driving days in a conventional car are gradually drawing to a close - because of deteriorating eyesight.
I still can drive short distances and in a good light: I can pass the crucial test of being able to decipher a vehicle registration at 20 metres (that's about five cars away).
But I'm finding it harder to cope with longer-distance driving on unfamiliar roads. Can I read the overhead signs properly, sometimes half-hidden by foliage? Can I manage the merging motorways?
It's a life-changing moment when you feel you may have to quit driving, because a car is an unparalleled symbol of freedom and independence.
Few inventions have delivered more independence to women than the automobile. Having her own car and a driver's licence meant that a woman could go anywhere on her own, within the safety of her vehicle.
Having a car at the door meant never having to depend on someone else - or on the limitations of public transport - for personal mobility. For women in the countryside, the car was, literally, the route out of isolation.
You can see why feminists in Saudi Arabia fought for so long for the right to drive - defying the kingdom's religious and secular law. Saudi women finally won the right to get behind the steering wheel in 2018.
Up to the 1960s, all over Europe, motorists were more usually men than women, while in America women had been driving almost from the start.
The patron saint of American female drivers is Alice Huyler Ramsey, who, aged 22, drove a car across the United States in 1909, a distance of 3,800 miles, taking 59 days. She did this at a time when an automobile required an arm-wrenching gadget called a crank starter, many changes of tyres and constant minor repairs.
By the 1930s, women in America were quite commonly driving - 37% of farm girls in the relatively poor state of Missouri were behind the wheel. By the 1950s, teenage American girls had their own pink Dodge model, tail-fins and all.
The writer Anne Applebaum told me that her American mother had her own Chevrolet, aged 17, in the 1950s: it brought a tremendous sense of liberation for those young women whose families could afford to provide them with a car.
On this side of the Atlantic, prejudice against women drivers could be discerned from the jokes that prevailed against the "lady driver", often depicted as absent-minded and bird-brained.
Some men felt threatened by a female at the wheel - especially overtaking.
When women began driving in greater numbers, they had a considerable influence on the motoring market. It was women who wanted cars to be safer: Volvo underlined the safety of their product with a view to marketing their vehicles to mothers.
In Britain, it was a woman politician, the fiery Barbara Castle, who introduced the compulsory seat belt (much resisted at first by libertarians), speed limits and tougher rules against drink-driving.
I was all of 43 before I passed (after three failed attempts) the driving test. But I quickly came to love driving, anywhere, at any time. It was rather thrilling to discover that there is no speed limit on German autobahns and, with glee, I watched the needle hitting 140kph on a German road.
The car fell into disfavour with environmentalists in recent years: it was blamed for polluting the planet, snarling up cities in traffic jams, causing death and disability and making us all so fat.
The pressure has been on to produce cleaner, electric vehicles - consequently the electric car company Tesla saw its share price quadrupled this year.
Regrettably, Mr Musk seems a little over-optimistic about his driverless car, which is experiencing some teething troubles - its sensors can't always anticipate the unexpected - so it may be a few years yet before it's available to us.
I'm not quite done with driving, but I can anticipate the end of the road. I'll have to let go of my dreams of driving a camper van across France, or the even dafter fantasy of doing a lap in a race-car.
But what a great road trip it's been while it lasted.