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Will a World of Driverless Cars Be Heaven or Hell? - Robin Chase - The Atlantic Cities

Stashed in: Google!, Google Acquisitions, Cars!, Awesome, History of Tech!, Stairway to Heaven!, Transportation!, Google Ventures!, Uber, Google, Self-driving Cars, My Cold Dead Fingers

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My guess is that Google's could be the "heaven" vision. In July they spent $966 million to purchase Waze, a company with a brilliant smart phone navigation app. The app delivers the best routes based on the historical choices of the 50 million Wazers combined with the traffic speeds they are experiencing in real-time. Back in the day, when I was CEO of Zipcar, I was struck that we knew the precise times, days, durations, and distances of car travel more intimately even than car manufacturers did. Today, Waze offers a greater insight into the exact travel paths of what must be on the order of a billion trips over many years. If you wanted to get into the on-demand public transport world, you couldn't ask for better data against which to understand and predict exactly where and when people will want to travel. Couple that with Google Ventures single largest investment to date — $258 million — into Uber, which has perfected the request, pickup, and delivery side of the equation, and you've got a clear blueprint for tomorrow's transportation (if you take as a given the autonomous vehicle itself, of course).

But getting to the heaven vision will also require making sure that we share not just the cars (about 80 percent of all trips are single occupancy, and this produces a lot of congestion), but we also share the trips, which is where the real road efficiency will come from. Having a range of vehicle types and sizes, pricing the trips appropriately, and making sure that all of them are CO2-free are all necessary parts of a heavenly car future.

Thanks for stashing this -- I had not considered Waze at scale with self-driving cars before.

The Uber investment is making more sense in this context, too.

About Uber: it's better if the cars are self-driving because no pesky liability incurred by drivers.

Just use the software to summon a car and let it take you wherever you want to go.


First Uber eliminates taxis through competition.

Then Uber eliminates its own drivers' jobs.

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