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Old 03-12-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Why is everyone so excited about self driving cars? You're still in the car, sitting in traffic for the same amount of time and the car costs twice as much. Sure, they will replace truck drivers and taxis(you think 10% unemployment is high?) but they're of no use if you use it for personal reasons.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:31 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,099,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im_a_lawyer View Post
Why is everyone so excited about self driving cars? You're still in the car, sitting in traffic for the same amount of time and the car costs twice as much. Sure, they will replace truck drivers and taxis(you think 10% unemployment is high?) but they're of no use if you use it for personal reasons.
Why would they replace truck drivers?
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,411 times
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Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
It would be cheaper and less hassle to just pay for a "taxi". The rich and those that really want it may still pay for the luxury of having a dedicated car. But it will no longer be required to economically travel around most areas as it is today. But it is just my theory.

You think there would be little change then?
Perhaps there are plenty of people who don't find the act of owning, maintaining and driving a car (even with traffic, gas, insurance, payments, repairs and parking) to be a hassle at all?
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:52 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Perhaps there are plenty of people who don't find the act of owning, maintaining and driving a car (even with traffic, gas, insurance, payments, repairs and parking) to be a hassle at all?
I think the OP's idea is that the cost will be so great that only the rich can afford to have one not in constant revenue service.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,917,166 times
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Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
I think this article overstates things a bit. Use for regular work commutes during rush hour are going to be one of the worst uses for self-driving car sharing. After all, if 90% of drivers need access to a car around 5PM, it means you need to provide a car (or at least a carpool) for each one of them at that time. This means a fleet will have huge amounts of down-time during the non-peak hours. It may be marginally cheaper to consumers than owning a car, but it won't be a very lucrative way of making money.

Instead, I expect these sorts of services to pick up wherever people don't generally need cars for work, but do need them on off hours for shopping, socializing, and excursions. This will potentially cause car ownership to drop considerably in cities and areas with good access to commuter rail.

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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
the driverless feature is strictly an optional luxury item. which might be useful for the disabled who otherwise couldn't get around in a car because of their handicap but for everyone else its a totally nonessential luxury item that adds unnecessary cost and complexity to the vehicle. who wants to drive around with a giant spinning radar on the roof of their car anyways?
Driverless cars already have a lower accident rate than humans, and they aren't even allowed on the road yet in 49 states. This doesn't make it a luxury, but good policy to promote, as it will result in roadways being much safer. Not to mention the cost of car insurance should drop astronomically as more and more cars are self-driving at all times.

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Originally Posted by flyonpa View Post
One issue no one is talking about is liability. If the driveless car hits something who is going to take the liability ? Google?
Presumably insurance will handle the issue. Given 91% of accidents are due in part or in total to driver error, in theory insurance rates for autonomous cars should be a fraction of what they are today (and fall even more as the chance of interacting with human-driven cars lessens). The remaining accidents will in part be due to roadway issues (and should be covered by insurance), or vehicle failures not due to the self-driving system. Theoretically speaking, insurance companies could probably take on even the limited percentage of errors due to software and still make out like bandits, so I don't think its a huge concern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_a_lawyer View Post
Why is everyone so excited about self driving cars? You're still in the car, sitting in traffic for the same amount of time and the car costs twice as much.
You can treat the car as your own personal train car. You can be on your cellphone while it is driving, be drunk while it is driving, and probably eventually won't even have to have a license to be a passenger in one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Why would they replace truck drivers?
An autonomous fleet of freight trucks doesn't have to pay wages, which might cancel out the costs of the units sooner than you think. More importantly, they can drive for 24 hours straight (or as long as their gas tanks allow) while humans, even if taking speed, have to stop eventually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Perhaps there are plenty of people who don't find the act of owning, maintaining and driving a car (even with traffic, gas, insurance, payments, repairs and parking) to be a hassle at all?
I expect this will be a generational thing. Within the next 10-20 years, autonomous cars will get good enough they need no human override ever, and affordable enough that most people can rent (if not own) them affordably. Presuming you eventually don't even need a license to be in one, there will be no reason for the next generation of kids to learn to drive at all. Some may, but it will probably be as rare as it is today to find a young person who knows how to drive a stick shift (a few years back, only 13% of those under 25 bought them).
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:52 AM
 
229 posts, read 248,443 times
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Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Why would they replace truck drivers?
??? Why would any transporting company hire thousands of truck drivers and pay them > $40,000/year or whatever to do something that can be done for free by a computer program?

Simple Google search reveals that there are 3.5 million truck drivers in this country alone. Millions and millions of jobs will be lost once this self driving technology is perfected.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:02 PM
 
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At this point in time I think we could debate back and forth about when and how common this would be. Just like someone in 1915 theorizing about the automobiles.

So, lets assume that the legalities, pricing, and technical complications get worked out. It ends up costing about the same as adding an automatic transmission to a car, they do become the most common method of getting around over the next couple of decades, and getting a ride in an automated "taxi" has about the same or even cheaper cost than driving yourself.

How does it change how our cities are designed? Just as the automobile led to the rise of the suburbs, would would you expect any shifts from automated cars?
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:09 PM
 
10,536 posts, read 7,509,834 times
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Originally Posted by im_a_lawyer View Post
Simple Google search reveals that there are 3.5 million truck drivers in this country alone. Millions and millions of jobs will be lost once this self driving technology is perfected.
Yes, but just as millions of stable hand, railroad, and canal worker jobs were lost by the automobile; or the millions of manual manufacturing jobs were lost by industrialization; or the millions of jobs lost by computer automation; the economy will adapt and new industries will emerge to replace those that are lost.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,917,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im_a_lawyer View Post
??? Why would any transporting company hire thousands of truck drivers and pay them > $40,000/year or whatever to do something that can be done for free by a computer program?
It will be a long, drawn out process. Long haul will be the first to go, because 24-hour operations mean truckers cannot compete. On the other hand, for short haul, there's only the wage versus technology aspect, and for delivery trucks, you're going to need to have someone to unload the stuff anyway, so you might as well put off using the technology until insurance savings are greater than the cost to put it into the truck.

People will also lose jobs in public transit, of course. I can't think of anything which in theory should be easier to automate than trains, for example. I'm having a hard time figuring out how public transit systems will delineate where their own (automated bus and paratransit) systems end and the for-profit car-sharing services begin, as the differences between them grow fuzzier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
How does it change how our cities are designed? Just as the automobile led to the rise of the suburbs, would would you expect any shifts from automated cars?
Two things first and foremost.

1. Parking, as they said, will be way, way lower. On the other hand, high-traffic areas will need staging places to drop off and pick up people (particularly places like grocery stores, where people load and unload), so it's not as if there is no use at all for parking lanes. Still, the economics of for-profit downtown garages are now bunk. Cars could be programed to drive themselves to the nearest cheap spot, and thus over time will cause expensive garages with convenient locations to vanish. You might end up seeing "remote parking districts" in former industrial areas at some remove from the core. Downtown and near downtown areas will have lots of area for new development, and probably become structurally more dense than ever before.

2. On the other hand, automated cars facilitate huge suburban sprawl in a certain sense. Autonomous cars can in theory drive much faster and be safe, and also avoid traffic jams due to the lack of human error, although in practice outside of dedicated lanes on the highway, they won't be able to really show this off until manual cars are banned from the roadways, which is probably around forty years off yet (I'm presuming within twenty years, it will be affordable, and few people drive cars more than twenty years old, meaning the vast majority of cars will be self-driving at least in part by 2050 or so - around when the last generation of people who grew up only doing manual driving is getting old). Still, even before then, you can treat your commute like it's on the train, meaning you can eat, read the paper, and even do work while in the car. As a result people who want to live in the absolute sticks can. Subdivisions will probably look a bit different, as they aren't built around driving anymore, but they will still be exurban.
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:02 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,101 times
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Driverless cars already have a lower accident rate than humans, and they aren't even allowed on the road yet in 49 states. This doesn't make it a luxury, but good policy to promote, as it will result in roadways being much safer. Not to mention the cost of car insurance should drop astronomically as more and more cars are self-driving at all times.
a 10 car sample size of prototypes doesn't mean much. I think the safety is unproven because they haven't gone into production yet. they are unproven on a commercial scale.

beyond that I think the biggest problem they seem to have is the bulky awkward-looking radar system that must be mounted high above the roofline, which destroys not only the aesthetics of the car but more importantly the aerodynamics. and that will have a huge negative impact on your fuel economy. driving with such a bulky contraption on your roof could cut your fuel economy by up to half. it seems kinda pointless for Google to have these running on a bunch of Prius hybrids because your fuel efficiency is going to go out the window anyway. you may as well be driving a Hummer. appearance-wise I can't imagine anyone who would want to put this thing on their car. it'll make you look like the biggest dork.




its a bird, its a plane. its the Google car!

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