“My opinion is it’s a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars.”–Elon Musk
“We are approaching the end of the line for automobiles.”–Bob Lutz
Elon doesn’t believe in flying cars, either. But then his bread is buttered on a more conventional side. And he certainly isn’t shy about providing ever more driver auto-assist features to his Teslas. I’ll be talking to strong proponents of both autonomous and flying cars in the next two Seeking Delphi™ podcast episodes; in the mean time the manual vs. autonomous argument is all over this week’s news.
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Self-driving cars–Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Waymo says it will roll out a driverless ridesharing service next month. The test program will be limited to about 100 square miles in the suburban Phoenix area.
–On the other hand, there are still some big names in tech playing the skeptic on fully autonomous vehicles. Legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is one of them. He cites infrastructure built for us imperfect humans as the reason he thinks it won’t happen any time soon.
–Contrary to Wozniak, a former GM executive believes we are nearing the end of the era of personal, manually driven automobile. He thinks autonomous vehicles will not only take over, but conventional cars will eventually be banned.
–Self-driving or not, the demand for petroleum will continue to grow in the years ahead. In fact, the International Energy Agency projects that growing demand in emerging markets will lead to high prices and shortages in the 2020’s.
–Then there’s the weird story. There always has to be a weird story. Fast Company reports that a new study suggests that one of the common activities in self-driving cars might turn out to be–you guessed it–sex. Then again, it’s apparently a pretty common activity in conventional cars as well.
World Economy–Next Big Future projects that Asia will represent half the world economy by 2028. And in another article, they project that China will enjoy per capita income equal to that of Europe by 2040. What they don’t say is where the world gets the resources to support all of that.
Privacy–If your data security is a worry, you ain’t heard nothing yet. A British firm that makes hand implantable RFID chips for personal security, is now proposing to provide them to companies for their workers. And the workers are not happy about it.
Space Commerce–A field that barely existed 10 years ago has come a long way in a decade. Space.com takes a look at where it has been and where it is going.
Coming soon–a three-part Seeking Delphi™ podcast series on future driving–including episodes on self-driving cars and flying cars. Up first, Alex Wyglinski of IEEE on the importance of connectivity in self-driving cars.