Self-driving cars

Tags: randomthought, other, real life.
By lucb1e on 2014-06-24 19:40:12 +0100

How much would you pay for a self-driving car? I'll let you think about that for a minute. Myself, I'd pay about all the money I could spend on it. The idea fascinates me and it really seems like an awesome future.

Not only will self-driving cars get you from A to B without having to drive, it will also prevent about a million deaths every year due to car crashes. It will likely solve all our traffic jam problems. It will make traveling by car faster because we no longer need speed limits for our slow human reflexes. It will also make traveling by car cheaper and more fun.

And best of all: it can get almost anything from anywhere to anywhere at any time without having to think about transportation.

You enter your destination somewhere (app?) and it'll tell you what time to leave. The rest like the route, parking, method of travel, traffic jams and conditions do not require conscious thought anymore.


Cars will drop you off where want to be and can continue, by themselves, to find available parking space. Right now parking lots are expensive and nearby parking space is always taken. Imagine not needing to think about parking, parking tickets or parking space. The car can drive out of the city (center) and park anywhere.

It's like having a private driver except the driver is there around the clock and doesn't need life support (food, water, air and a toilet, or in short, money and holidays). But it gets better.

I think things might even get to a point where cars become a throwaway product. One is always available nearby and for a certain price per kilometer you can just summon and use it. Yes, summon a car. Accio car!

It may take a minute to fetch from parking, but if that's all...

And if this is the case, we will probably also see many smaller vehicles where only one person fits in and which takes up only a third the space, reducing traffic jams and emissions. When you need a larger car you just summon a larger one. Right now we all buy cars that are much too large for ourselves (usually 5 people plus luggage) because at some point in the future we probably have to transport others.

Of course other people's cars might be dirty but it could easily keep a log and you could send it for cleaning if it's not clean. If the cleaning crew confirms that it's dirty then the person who last used it gets the bill. Just a brainwave of how it might work, but basically I think we can get around this issue. Trains and buses are clean enough too, right?

Transporting items other than yourself

Another thing is the transportation of objects other than humans over 18. You don't bring your kids to daycare, a car does. You don't go to a store to have your computer repaired, a car can bring it there. I know a blind person who says his biggest obstacle in daily life is transportation: this would largely solve it because the car can always eject them very close to their destination. Oh wait did I say eject? I mean drop off.

Same goes for having objects delivered. Your new sofa might still need special treatment but anything smaller could be delivered via a certain interface in your front door that accepts goods whether you're there or not. Driverless delivery vans can make their way much more efficiently and expensive humans need not be paid. This makes shipping way cheaper.

And don't forget trucks that can move containers from A to B without sleeping or paying the cost of a driver's life support.

Changes to cars

Cars themselves will also change due to this. Interfaces for delivering and accepting good in their trunk perhaps, but most significantly there will be no steering wheel or any of the other item that makes you realize it's not a living room but the inside of a car.

I imagine there'll be slightly more spacious and higher cars in which you can stretch your legs and do various activities. It would be sort of ironic to work out in a car instead of cycling, but hey, at least you don't risk slipping on ice. Other activities may include sleeping, eating breakfast, getting dressed and various forms of entertainment. I do wonder which company will be the first to fit a shower into a car. Or just a jacuzzi.

*sigh* the possibilities. It all depends on one piece of hard- and software (sensors and something that turns it into actions) and I can't wait for it to become available.

Get one. Soon.

Here is one more argument for buying a self-driving car rather sooner than later: not only will it improve your life now, it will also make all this technology more mature and cheaper sooner rather than later.

This means more people can upgrade and thus that, at some point, human driving is made illegal in favor of higher speeds. And forget traffic jams (which are almost entirely due to the slow human reflexes). It benefits you and everyone else.

To those people not wanting a self-driving car because driving would become boring: I'm really very sorry but you slow humanity down. Just consider that you'll be able to play games instead. Or get that jacuzzi upgrade.

In summary

t'll free up lots of time and effort for you.

Concerning the price

Honestly, I don't think it's that expensive. Right now it is because now we're in the research & development stage of things. But consider self-driving in ten years time: it will be a couple of sensors and a piece of software. Meanwhile we can cut back on windscreen wipers, cruise control, parking sensors, honks, airbags, seatbelts, lights, street lamps on highways, handsfree car kits, etc.

These cars are perhaps not the next step in evolution like electricity was, but it is a huge step into the future achievable by a relatively small technological improvement. You just might want to consider switching jobs because some company is going to get very rich doing this.

Now, concerning my initial question: what would you pay for a driverless car? It needn't be a number; numbers are worth little because different people with different occupations have different amounts to spend. But in general, wouldn't this future be pretty fucking great?
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