Autonomous Vehicles, The Coming Tsunami

Some thoughts about autonomous vehicles, which can be trusted to perform tasks without continuous human supervision or control. Specifically, self-driving cars and trucks and pilot-less aircraft. Note that most so-called “drones” are remotely piloted, not autonomous.

Self-driving cars and trucks will not need drivers, so the need for professional car and truck drivers will disappear, along with the services for training and licensing them.

Self-driving cars and trucks will be programmed to obey the law, which will eliminate the need for traffic police and traffic courts.

Self-driving cars and trucks will eliminate most of 45,000 deaths and 3 million injuries a year, together with the associated emergency room services, hospital beds, doctors and nurses, ambulances, tow trucks, body shops, insurance companies, attorneys and other functionaries.

Cars and trucks on demand will eliminate the need for people to own a vehicle. Many will probably continue to do so, but the vehicle population overall will be much more efficiently utilized, reducing the number needed.

Cars on demand will improve access to transportation for those who currently would be unable to drive due to illness or disability.

Self-driving cars and trucks can potentially be operated much faster than today’s cars, so long as they are not mixed with human-operated vehicles. Expect demand for self-driving-only lanes very early on, where speed limits can be much higher making aircraft only needed for very long trips.

Self-driving cars and trucks and pilot-less aircraft both large and small will dramatically reduce the cost and time of delivering goods to homes, effectively eliminating the need for retail stores, especially when taking 3D immersive audio and vision technology into account.

Human-operated cars and trucks will eventually be banished to race tracks or other recreational venues. Airspace restrictions will become more stringent.

In other words, nothing less than an enormous social revolution. And it is coming fast. I should probably have waited a day before posting this.


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