Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Driverless Cars

The shape of things to come and probably sooner than we think.

From Grist...
  • When cars are much lighter, it will be easier to move them using electricity. And when you switch out an internal combustion engine for simple electric motors on each wheel, you save another huge chunk of weight, further increasing electric range.
  • Once most cars are electric, the top cause of urban air pollution would be eliminated. Urban air quality — and thus urban public health — will increase exponentially. There will be fewer work and school days lost to illness.
  • If there’s a fleet of shared driverless vehicles available, and a car can drive itself to you whenever you need one, there will be no need to owna car. Why lug it around? Now, think about the last time you drove around in an American suburb. Imagine if all those houses didn’t need garages. What could all the extra space be used for? Think about all the gasoline and insurance and maintenance money involved in car ownership replaced by a simple, cheap subscription fee to a car service. What would all the saved money be used for?
  • Today the average American spends about 100 hours a year commuting (I have a hard time believing that 100 hours number), and there is nothing more soul-crushing than driving in traffic. Imagine having all those hours back. The car is driving, so you’re reading, sending email, calling clients, surfing the internet. You’re working. What would it mean to you to have 100 more hours a year? What would it mean to U.S. economic productivity to have billions of additional work hours every year? What would be the net health and psychological effects of all that reduced stress?

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