[ExI] self driving cars

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Thu May 17 03:57:52 UTC 2012

On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think spike was suggesting the speeds go down for engineering
> reasons (mostly fuel economy)

Economics will push speeds faster if safety isn't an issue. Unless Al
Gore is in the white house, or OPEC starts throwing their weight
around ala 1973, I can't see a speed limit for fuel economy because
the overall economics is that the time of the car's occupant is more
valuable to the overall economy than the gasoline.

> The timeshare notion also means we need fewer cars.

Yup, that's part of the point.

> However, with our
> stupid schedules of "rush hour" we still need too many cars to cover
> these needless peak-demand times.

If all the data were known, there could be car pooling, larger
mini-van type cars for car poolers, etc. The best thing about pooling
cars like this is that you then have all the data you need to
facilitate real mass transit.

> If those of us who work remotely
> from the cube-farms our employers provide would simply stay home, it'd
> help alleviate some of that demand.  Staggered-start of the work day
> to reduce "rush hour" would also provide a smoother distribution of
> passenger/car/hour.

Both awesome (if not new) ideas.

> Another important side effect of on-demand cars showing up when
> required is that we de-invest our identity from them.  I'm not going
> to leave 'my stuff' in the car when anyone else might be using it next
> or (more likely) that I may not see that particular vehicle again for
> weeks.  Assuming these vehicles keep themselves clean (within
> tolerances agreed-upon by service provider and consumer) there is also
> less concern for how stylish the vehicle is; for it is no longer a
> status object to be owned or compared to others'.

Right. Decoupling the American psyche from cars would be a good thing.

> During the transition, human drivers will absolutely be more
> aggressive.  Perhaps more accurately less careful because the rest of
> the traffic would constantly compensate for their failure.  We already
> see this in high-price Cadillacs and Lincolns: the car watches you for
> signs of falling asleep or backing over your children or other forms
> of neglectful driving.  At the point where cars are driving
> themselves, the option of taking control will likely become a per-use
> upcharge in insurance, traffic prioritization, and risk assessment.

I absolutely agree, until eventually some lawyer brings a class action
suit that ends all human driving except in the most exceptional
conditions. Sort of like how we go drive fast at the race track now.

> Ultimately it'll be the same pointless tradeoff as now between
> becoming irritated by the other cars and arriving 4 minutes sooner
> than maintaining an economical (and less stressful) ideal speed.  You
> might have the option to drive your car, but you won't want to do that
> any more than you'd like to take out the trash or do the laundry once
> our machines have taken-over those tasks too.

Yup. And as I showed in my picture, if you want to drive, take a nice
virtual drive down a deserted PCH... why do actual driving in an ugly
city when you can do virtual driving in a beautiful place.

> I think the real punditry comes in trying to figure out what we'll be
> doing with all the "free time" we'll have when we aren't serving the
> minutiae of the daily grind.  I hope that picture isn't one of a
> feed-lot where consumers are bought/raised/sold by mega-corps... but I
> keep seeing that as a strong possibility.  Oh I believe most of the
> readers of this list are the exceptional minority who will escape that
> fate - but what of the 'average' prole?

The fate of the average prole has never been all that super, in
comparison to the successful... I see no reason for that to change in
the future. So when you say feed-lot, are you thinking soilient green
or something less horrid than that?


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