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Driverless Cars

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Self-driving cars will be considered unthinkable 50 years from now

The vision of the “smart city” of the future involves driverless cars. Driverless trucks. Driverless buses. Driverless trains. But what happens to the space inside vehicles when nobody is driving? Is it really a smart social strategy to get rid of drivers?

 

Recently, I rode a bus uptown in Manhattan with a visibly disoriented and distressed man. As we passed 14th Street, the man got up from his seat and started throwing air punches and talking loudly to an imaginary companion. Those of us seated near him started to lean away and wonder if we ought to move.

 

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It doesn’t feel safe to imagine riding in a shared driverless vehicle. Not just because the technology doesn’t work — but because it doesn’t feel safe to be alone in a small, enclosed space with strange men.

 


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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Ah yes the safety boogeyman. Apparently bus drivers are unsung heroes for rescuing helpless women from other passengers.

 

I suppose the author of that story has never been in a train with more than one car?

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A big downside of driverless cars I hadn't considered before.....

 

 


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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You'd still be giving up 3 hours of your day, everyday.  I don't think the time commuters will travel will change much.  There will always be supercommuters, but 30 minutes will still be the rule for most.

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21 minutes ago, mrnyc said:

the difference for commuters is what you can and cannot do with the commute time depending on the mode.

 

This is certainly a huge attraction of Tesla's self-driving technology even in the state it exists today.  I did my first two long-range trips with this in the last month (once to Columbus, once to Toronto ... or, well, Mississauga).  The highway miles really are much less stressful once you get past the initial "who's driving this thing?!?!" hump.  And it allowed me to pay much more attention to my children in the backseat.

 

Doesn't work on city streets yet but I'm sure we'll be there in the next few years, especially with the next-gen hardware coming out very soon.

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39 minutes ago, X said:

You'd still be giving up 3 hours of your day, everyday.  I don't think the time commuters will travel will change much.  There will always be supercommuters, but 30 minutes will still be the rule for most.

 

I'm familiar with PNC executives and at least one manufacturing executive who hire drivers for their multiple weekly trips between Cleveland and Pittsburgh so they can stay productive while traveling. I'm sure there are other places where this happens, but in the absence of passenger rail services (or even a business-class bus service), this is one market that is pushing for self-driving cars.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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