As time passes, driverless cars will be lighter, faster and
simpler because they will not have to deal with unpredictable humans. Other driverless
cars will keep them up to the millisecond on their intentions. Trucks now are driving the
highways guided by artificial intelligence. The truck drives off the highway where a
human driver takes over for city driving. I hope we soon get a standard for driverless
cars to communicate with other trucks and the road bed to get road condition information,
upcoming hazards, congestion… Driverless cars are coming. Not that long
thereafter, it will be illegal for humans to drive cars on public roads as too dangerous.
This will be a mixed blessing:
- They will drastically reduce accidents. Computers are not distracted by texting,
fighting children, drowsiness, alcohol, worry, road rage, shapely behinds, eating,
shocking news on the radio, phone calls, heart attacks, epileptic seizures,
- Computers have pre-planned rational strategies to deal with every contingency
including ice, oil slicks, a mattress falling off the truck ahead, a lion on the
- Because of their microsecond reaction times, cars will be able to drive much closer
together and in narrower lanes. This means the same roadways will pump through more
traffic reducing congestion. Without such intelligent cars, there is no more land to
build roads to reduce congestion.
- Because driverless cars sense with ultrasound, radar, infrared… and because
they can talk to other cars and to traffic control, they can drive safely in foggy,
snowy and icy conditions.
- You will be able to sleep, read, have sex, watch movies, work, talk on the phone,
browse the Internet… as you travel. It will give commuters more free time.
- It will not be up to you to find a parking space. Your car will know where one is
and park itself, perhaps quite far away from where it let you off.
- If you want, you can allow others to use “your” car while you are not
using it, perhaps for a fee. You may sign up for a service like ZipCar where you have
access to a whole fleet of various sized and special purpose vehicles.
- Car insurance will be very inexpensive, both for liability and collision.
- Children, the elderly, drunks, irresponsible teens, disabled people all can drive
- Special vans can be used to deliver packages without requiring a driver. This will
reduce the cost of catalog/Internet shopping.
- Cars will do less stop and go driving since they can anticipated better. They will
drive to satisfy fuel efficiency not road rage efficiency.
- Since cars are communicating constantly about road conditions, they can avoid
congestion, always picking the currently optimum route.
- With cars more convenient than ever, the numbers will rise and the number of trips
will rise. Even if the cars are electric, this will increase net greenhouse gas
emissions. To start, cars will be gasoline powered. This means more fumes.
This is the killer. We need to be thinking about how to reduce passenger-miles not
- Manned taxis will disappear. It will be up to people at the end points to load and
unload and deal with disabled people.
- Public mass transit will wane.
- Because it will be safer to drive faster, cars will drive faster, thereby reducing
fuel efficiency and encouraging even more optional trips.
- Cars are not very efficient. They use rubber wheels and combustion engines. Ideally
we should be using rails, electric power and cars that travel bumper to bumper to
reduce wind drag, more like a automated railway than an automated highway system.
- Because commuting will be not quite so onerous, you will find people commuting and
polluting three hours each way to work.
People will equip their driverless cars to keep them entertained on trips. They will
watch TV, movies, DVDs (Digital Video Discs), news channels, listen to music, have sex, sleep, play
games, browse the Internet, shop electronically, talk on the phone, do office work, eat,
drink alcohol, groom, bathe…They will do many of thing they currently do at home,
at the office or in brick and mortar business establishments. Travel time will no longer
be automatically considered down time.
Even more than driverless cars, driverless taxis are coming. Even now, using taxis is
cheaper than owing your own car. The economic case for taxis will widen for the following
- You will no longer have to pay a human taxi driver.
- All members of your family can be traveling to separate destinations at once.
- You will be able to order up a taxi exactly the right size for your current need,
most commonly a single passenger pod. You won’t have to pay for the fuel to haul
around an oversized vehicle. Just as easily, you can have on tap an RV, a vehicle to
tow your cabin cruiser, a van to take the neighbourhood kids swimming, or a moving van.
That smaller vehicle will have access to the fast lanes.
- You will not have the cost of fuel for transporting the taxi driver around.
- You don’t have to pay for parking a driverless taxi. Most personal cars, even
driverless cars, own two parking spaces, one at work and
one at home. Each parking space costs $10K to
$50K to build. The cost of mandatory parking space shoves
up the price of rent and restaurants. It forces people to buy parking spaces who do not
even own cars, or who would not bother with a car if parking were not bundled in the
rent. Because parking is cheaper to build in the suburbs, mandatory parking promotes
urban sprawl. The largest user of urban land is parking
- Private cars will not have quite the same ego-identification. They will become more
like a flying couch than a penis extension. The car will no longer be an appropriate
means to express male potency, so people might as well use more economical taxis.
- Taxis will arrive to pick you up even faster than your personal car could unpark
and come to pick you up.
- Hired fleet mechanics will maintain taxis rather than garages run by the Mafia who
maintain personal vehicles.
- Just as taxi fleets were the first to implement hybrids, driverless taxis will be
first to implement fully electric vehicles. Taxis can be programmed to return to the
fleet garage for frequent battery changes. Electricity is very cheap per mile. Electric
vehicles are more durable than combustion vehicles. They are easier to maintain. Taxis
can use smaller, lighter, more energy efficient batteries than private cars. They
don’t need a to lug around heavy batteries just in case their is a long