[ExI] self driving cars

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed May 16 05:11:21 UTC 2012

Google and Stanford have shown that controls technology is now sufficient to
make a car drive itself in traffic at normal speeds.  Here's your chance to
work your mind, think deeply and be a techno-prophet by really thinking
through the question of how this will change how we drive and how we live.


I would say the three technologies have had the biggest impact on our lives
are computers, internet and cell phones.  I expect self-driving cars will be
the fourth biggie, and perhaps displacing cell phones for third place in the
list of huge changes.


Impacts: it allows cars to have vastly lower overall performance if the
human is out of the loop.  If a car is programmed to go no faster than the
speed limit ever, then there is no need to have the capability of going
faster than that.  All else being equal, the weight of a car scales as the
square of the top speed, so cars become dramatically lighter, and more fuel


We could have bathrooms in our cars.  That would be cool.


Roads would need to be smoother, since the robo-car would not be as likely
to avoid road irregularities.  They will not swerve to miss holes.


Once market penetration takes hold and there are more robo-cars than human
operated cars on the road, the humans might be tempted to drive very
aggressively.  Reasoning: the robo-cars would unquestioningly yield to them.
The human in the robo-car would scarcely notice that his is constantly being
cut off by aggressive assholes, since he might be in back in the bathroom
reading his tablet.  Driving aggressively doesn't accomplish much, since
most of the cars on the road would be going right at the speed limit.


Eventually: way fewer accidents.  Robo-cars do not get distracted, they
don't text, they don't get drunk or stoned, they don't get pissed off and
aggressive.  They just drive, faultlessly.  It isn't that hard to do really.


Although trips generally will take a little longer, they become more
predictable.  So if you need to leave two sigma ahead of average, the
standard deviation for any given trip goes down.


What else?  This is your chance to peer into the future and record your
musings for future generations to ridicule or marvel at your wisdom.



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