Just a quick blog to say that the regulatory environment for driverless cars is kicking into gear. California has just come up with some conservative rules that require there be an operator in the car. On the other hand the Federal government in taking a pro-active approach for national standards that seem to promise fully autonomous vehicles. Much of this depends on safety tests, but the underlying tension has to do with whether self-driving cars are an added feature to privately owned cars or will it signal a shift away from car ownership to a share model where you pay for usage. As my previous posts suggest, I am more intrigued by the latter since it promises the potential transformation of urban spaces. In any case, those that argue that driverless cars are coming sooner than you think, appear to be right.
I had thought San Francisco might be the first city with self-driving cars, but it looks like Audi is going to do a test with a small fleet of cars in Summerville, a suburb of Boston in 2018. Check out this article in Wired: Audi Will Unleash Self-Parking Cars in a Bid to Fix Urban Gridlock. They focus on making parking easier for the car owner. Go some place, get out of the car while the car finds someplace to park. Let your car know when you want to get picked up and it comes to fetch you. It does mention sharing the car, so you could make your car work for you while you don’t need it. I had thought that Zip Car or Car2Go might just develop a fleet of cars for this service. Why own a car when you … Read More »
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about the Future of Cars and Cities where I talked about the potential impact of driverless cars. Development is speeding up, especially with the rise of Uber. A recent article by Zack Kanter called How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 million jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025 shows how far this might go. He quotes Elon Musk of Tesla Motors that driverless cars will be available to the public by 2020. Rather than being sold to individuals, the more likely market are companies like Uber and ZipCar. He sees the transformation of not only the auto industry but public transport as well.
The potential of loss of established jobs is sobering, even if it balanced by the increase in jobs in other areas as the money that once went into cars goes … Read More »