When discussing self-driving cars, people tend to ask a lot of superficial questions: how much will these cars cost? Is this supposed to replace my car at home? Is this supposed to replace taxis or Uber? What if I need to use a drive-thru?
They ignore the smarter questions. They ignore the fact that 45% of disabled people in the US still work. They ignore the fact that 95% of a car’s lifetime is spent parked. They ignore how this technology could transform the lives of the elderly, or eradicate the need for parking lots or garages or gas stations. They dismiss the entire concept because they don’t think a computer could ever be as good at merging on the freeway as they are.
They ignore the great, big, beautiful picture staring them right in the face: that this technology could make our lives so much better.
Self-driving cars will be the biggest technological breakthrough since the advent of the computer. Beyond ‘just’ revolutionising personal transportation, it will completely and utterly change the commercial/freight transportation industry.
All of us will benefit from this technology. I cannot wait.
Of course, the industry that will get most hammered by the self-driving car is the taxi industry. I expect they’ll be fighting this for all they’re worth, since it’s effectively the end of the cabby.
Personally, I’m not so interested in owning a totally autonomous vehicle, as I am in a vehicle with advanced cruise control– if I’m on the interstate, I’m OK with throwing it into automatic and sitting back and relaxing.
Then again– I’m a driving enthusiast. I enjoy driving. I’m not interested in my car being an appliance.