Google's Self-Driving Car gathers almost 1 GB per SECOND. Here's what it "sees" making a left turn:
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Self-driving Cars
I think it's quite possible, that within the next 50 years, people won't really be driving cars much anymore. Google's self driving technology is so effective that it can be incredibly disruptive. Here's how I see it playing out:
- Fully automated cars become legal
- Individuals won't buy these vehicles
- Because self-driving cars will be the de facto Taxi of the 21st century
- Companies will spring up with fleets of self driving cars that take you door to door, whenever/wherever you want within their range of service
- Instead of buying/leasing cars, people will have an account with this kind of company (a la zipcar/citycarshare).
- These services will become increasingly more appealing than owning a car. Imagine a $500/mo subscription that gets you 1000 miles per month - no gas stations, no maintenance, no parking, no tickets, no hassle to get around.
- These companies will carry the insurance for any incidents that happen with these vehicles. Insurance companies will investigate accidents with help from the auto-driving cars' onboard datalogs, cameras, and sensors. The manufacturer won't be responsible, but the "taxi" companies will only want to purchase the safest, most reliable auto-driving cars and their insurance plan will take all these factors into account. This is why I don't see insurance issues being an issue.
- The cars will be all electric, and stop to charge whenever needed. Fossil fuel use will plummet.
Then the really cool stuff starts to happen:
- The next generation of kids won't even bother getting a drivers license.
- Parking lots will become obsolete, as these car services will just pick up another person at your destination rather than wait for you. City codes will be updated to remove requirements for parking spaces, and shops/housing/etc will be built up on what once were parking lots. Do you realize that parking lots are often 3 to 10 times larger in square footage than the establishments they're there for?!
- You can go ahead and convert your garage into addition living or workshop space now, too.
- Streets will be beautifully free of parked cars.
- The roadway system will eventually become fully automated - intersections will communicate with the auto-driving cars, replacing traffic lights with choreographed cross-traffic weaving.
- Driving will become a hobby sport like golfing, where you go to a specific place (a racetrack, off road course, etc) and drive to your heart's content.
- Shipping and delivery will be largely if not completely automated, possibly running mostly at night or during "off peak" road hours. Freight will also get automated, and may also go electric as cargo is automatically transferred by coordinated chains of auto-driving trucks.
It will be an amazing future.