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Autonews feature: Bob Lutz on autonomous driving and the end of human driving

Just putting it out there for discussion.

I've very rarely agreed with Lutz in the past, but he has been in a good position to see which way the industry is going and he's no dummy.

Putting a 20 year horizon on human-controlled automobiles is a pretty big deal.

I guess the part that concerns me is the idea of renting a pooled or fleet vehicle on demand. No fleet operator is going to have enough inventory in the right place to cover demand. And no fleet operator is going to accept underutilized fleets. Without some careful regulatory work we could wind up in a situation not unlike broadband internet: it's fine if you live in a dense area, but difficult to live with if you don't.
 

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I read this article in my paper periodical a few months ago.

I think we need to keep in mind that most of these discussions fail to take into account very, rural America.

But I find the timelines scary...
 

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Lutz's article has been a hot topic of conversation on the Corvette and Camaro forums.

Majority find fault with his time frame. Rural America is not ready nor is the infrastructure....but suspect his thoughts will some day be reality.
 
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Zappos has dynamic learning robots that bring the shelf containing an ordered item to the picking/packing dept. The system learns the popularity of various items and stores more desirable items closer to the pickers. Of course this means that the warehouse organization is always changing, but the central computer knows where stuff is located.

I don't see why distribution of a pool couldn't be managed in a similar way - perhaps send orders to re-deploy idle inventory in the wee hours or other off-peak times to increase availability/demand synchronization.


one thing hinted at during hurricane Katrina though, once you wean folks away from a personal vehicle, how do you evacuate them in a city/area-wide emergency?


 

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mother of the Dodge intrepid = Bob Lutz
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't see why distribution of a pool couldn't be managed in a similar way - perhaps send orders to re-deploy idle inventory in the wee hours or other off-peak times to increase availability/demand synchronization.


one thing hinted at during hurricane Katrina though, once you wean folks away from a personal vehicle, how do you evacuate them in a city/area-wide emergency?
Your comments address the part which I find to be the most fascinating and potentially troubling.

We're going to need a lot of Lutz's "modules" sitting around cold 90% of the time in order to have enough to practically replace the human-controlled cars during rush hours, holidays & evacuation crises. I could see getting away with fewer than we have now because of optimization programs such as you suggest, but there's still going to need to be a lot of modules sitting around.

I just can't picture corporate America getting that past their shareholders.
 

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one thing hinted at during hurricane Katrina though, once you wean folks away from a personal vehicle, how do you evacuate them in a city/area-wide emergency?
This is another huge issue with EV infrastructure. What happens in an emergency. There IS NO Evacuation now. Hmmm, maybe that the point. You can't have the masses doing anything without mass transportation. Without power, where does that leave us.

My folks lose power at the homestaed all the time. The house is wired with a back up generator. Where I grew up...we are long way from giving up gas...or a steering wheel.
 

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Also need to look at things on a more localized level.

What happens with first responder vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and police cars?

How many parents will be willing to let their kids board a driverless school bus?
 
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What happens with first responder vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and police cars?
I would expect that our "Government Emergency and Enforcement" arms would always be stocked with plenty of petrol powered vehicles, and plenty of fuel.

This above scenario creates some interesting social/anti-social barriers between the haves and halves-not. During a crisis situation.
 

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Also need to look at things on a more localized level.

What happens with first responder vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and police cars?

How many parents will be willing to let their kids board a driverless school bus?

yeah, there's some very basic, 'instinctive' prejudices at work. If there are 30K auto-related deaths now and AI controlled vehicles cut that in half - can humans really accept 15K deaths in driverless vehicles?

strange how we think/feel about issues sometimes.
 

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There's one more - huge - economic driver here that even Lutz missed: The trend for older citizens to "age in place" in their homes, should they desire it and be able to do so, rather than go into expensive retirement facilities of all genres. It makes a huge financial difference to stay where you are, if you can.

At present, independent transportation is the keystone to aging in place. For most people doing so, you have to have access to it. Baby boomers may well be the first generation to never have to give up "the" car - said in quotes, of course, because this will be a car controlled by someone/something else - but at the end of the day, it does fit a loose definition of "independent", as it shows up when you want it, takes you where you want to go, and probably has modules that help you with personal mobility issues that far exceed what cars have today.

It won't take consumers accepting such changes for this to happen. The financial drivers here are huge, of course, and it may well be the only option for many in this situation. As well as many others not in this situation, as Lutz posited.
 

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^^^ good post

my extended family has a coupla seniors using GoGoGrandma/Grandparent
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had a little re-think on this...

The fleets of modules Lutz is thinking of are going to be owned by large companies for the purpose of shuttling their own employees to work and back.

That's right, robo-commute offered as a perk to work there.

It doesn't solve the overall problem of not having enough modules, but unfortunately it solves all the problems the company writing the checks cares about.
 

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It doesn't solve the overall problem of not having enough modules, but unfortunately it solves all the problems the company writing the checks cares about.
Except for the one that involves the use of a public roadway between the employee's home and the company's premises. This is still a democracy, and we've got a long history of such public infrastructure being distributed and available in a pretty egalitarian fashion - like use of available bandwidth on the interne....

Oh, wait.

OK, they'll have to be dealing with that part of it pretty soon, I guess.
 

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there's the commerce of new car sales, and there's the reality of currently in place cars on the road and car culture.

he may be making his projections more on his perspective of new cars first.

there are 253 million cars on the road. i don't see that number getting turned over in 20 years. it defies too many economic trends, and past vectors.
 

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^^ more good points

average age of cars on the road is approaching 12 years. Without some kind of buy-back or mandate, it will take a coupla generations to get private cars off the roads.
 
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