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Autonomous cars are so close to reality

When I declared automated cars to be on our roads within 5 years and highly adopted in 10 years with private transportation becoming obsolete in 15-20 years, my friends looked at me like I was nuts and an overoptimistic technologist.

Mark my words, a transportation revolution is happening and most people are completely unaware how fast it is coming.

Telsa has joined the ranks of autonomous vehicles: Tesla Testing Software For Autopilot Trips Between Seattle & San Francisco

Elon Musk’s promise to deliver a fully functional self-driving car within the near future appears to have some truth to it — it seems to have not been an exaggeration, in other words (despite his habit of overstating things). The company has reportedly begun testing software that will allow the Model S to “drive itself” all the way from San Francisco to Seattle.

[Source, Clean Technica]

I so welcome it. The ramifications of autonomous vehicles is huge! Think of the infrastructure changes alone:

  • No more parking lots. (turn mall parking lots into actual parks)
  • No more signage = prettier cities.
  • No more painted roads.
  • Narrower and fewer roads = less maintenance, less environmental impact.
  • No more DUIs.
  • No more road rage.
  • No more divided highways (the cars negotiate the number of lanes each direction as demand dictates)
  • No more stress of ownership (ie. no more insurance, unexpected repairs when payday is still weeks away, worry over other’s ruining your vehicle by running into you)
  • No more accidents.
  • The elderly can become mobile again.
  • Special needs (mentally, disabled, blind, etc) people who previously could not drive will have refound freedom.
  • Greater quality time on commutes. (Trips to work can be productive. You can sleep on the long commute to granny’s house. Practice guitar while passengering to that gig. Play cars with your child instead of demanding they play the alphabet game once more time.)
  • Moving vans delivered to your door. (Want to move a bedroom suite from Cincinnati to Knoxville? Have Penske autodeliver a truck to the house in Knox then let the truck take you to Cincinnati, load, and the truck returns you or better yet just send the truck to Cincinnati and have locals load it.)

So many possibilities!

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