daguti + cars-electric   20

73 Mind-Blowing Implications of Driverless Cars and Trucks
"73 Mind-Blowing Implications of Driverless Cars and Trucks
I originally wrote and published a version of this article in September 2016. Since then, quite a bit has happened, further cementing my view that these changes are coming and that the implications will be even more substantial. I decided it was time to update this article with some additional ideas and a few changes.

As I write this, Uber just announced that it just ordered 24,000 self-driving Volvos. Tesla just released an electric, long-haul tractor trailer with extraordinary technical specs (range, performance) and self-driving capabilities (UPS just preordered 125!). And, Tesla just announced what will probably be the quickest production car ever made — perhaps the fastest. It will go zero to sixty in about the time it takes you to read zero to sixty. And, of course, it will be able to drive itself. The future is quickly becoming now. Google just ordered thousands of Chryslers for its self-driving fleet (that are already on the roads in AZ).

In September of 2016, Uber had just rolled out its first self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh, Tesla and Mercedes were rolling out limited self-driving capabilities and cities around the world were negotiating with companies who want to bring self-driving cars and trucks to their cities. Since then, all of the major car companies have announced significant steps towards mostly or entirely electric vehicles, more investments have been made in autonomous vehicles, driverless trucks now seem to be leading rather than following in terms of the first large scale implementations and there’ve been a few more incidents (i.e. accidents).

I believe that the timeframe for significant adoption of this technology has shrunk in the past year as technology has gotten better faster and as the trucking industry has increased its level of interest and investment.

I believe that my daughter, who is now just over 1 years old, will never have to learn to drive or own a car.

The impact of driverless vehicles will be profound and impact almost every part of our lives.

Below are my updated thoughts about what a driverless future will be like. Some of these updates are from feedback to my original article (thanks to those who contributed!!!), some are based on technology advances in the past year and others are just my own speculations.

What could happen when cars and trucks drive themselves?

1. People won’t own their own cars. Transport will be delivered as a service from companies who own fleets of self-driving vehicles. There are so many technical, economic, safety advantages to the transportation-as-a-service that this change may come much faster than most people expect. Owning a vehicle as an individual will become a novelty for collectors and maybe competitive racers.

2. Software/technology companies will own more of the world’s economy as companies like Uber, Google and Amazon turn transportation into a pay-as-you-go service. Software will indeed eat this world. Over time, they’ll own so much data about people, patterns, routes and obstacles that new entrants will have huge barriers to enter the market

3. Without government intervention (or some sort of organized movement), there will be a tremendous transfer of wealth to a very small number of people who own the software, battery/power manufacturing, vehicle servicing and charging/power generation/maintenance infrastructure. There will be massive consolidation of companies serving these markets as scale and efficiency will become even more valuable. Cars (perhaps they’ll be renamed with some sort-of-clever acronym) will become like the routers that run the Internet — most consumers won’t know or care who made them or who owns them.

4. Vehicle designs will change radically — vehicles won’t need to withstand crashes in the same way, all vehicles will be electric (self-driving + software + service providers = all electric). They may look different, come in very different shapes and sizes, maybe attach to each other in some situations. There will likely be many significant innovations in materials used for vehicle construction — for example, tires and brakes will be re-optimized with very different assumptions, especially around variability of loads and much more controlled environments. The bodies will likely be primarily made of composites (like carbon fiber and fiberglass) and 3D printed. Electric vehicles with no driver controls will require 1/10th or fewer the number of parts (perhaps even 1/100th) and thus will be quicker to produce and require much less labor. There may even be designs with almost no moving parts (other than wheels and motors, obviously).

5. Vehicles will mostly swap batteries rather than serve as the host of battery charging. Batteries will be charged in distributed and highly optimized centers — likely owned by the same company as the vehicles or another national vendor. There may be some entrepreneurial opportunity and a marketplace for battery charging and swapping, but this industry will likely be consolidated quickly. The batteries will be exchanged without human intervention — likely in a carwash-like drive thru

6. Vehicles (being electric) will be able to provide portable power for a variety of purposes (which will also be sold as a service) — construction job sites (why use generators), disaster/power failures, events, etc. They may even temporarily or permanently replace power distribution networks (i.e. power lines) for remote locations — imagine a distributed power generation network with autonomous vehicles providing “last mile” services to some locations

7. Driver’s licenses will slowly go away as will the Department of Motor Vehicles in most states. Other forms of ID may emerge as people no longer carry driver’s licenses. This will probably correspond with the inevitable digitization of all personal identification — via prints, retina scans or other biometric scanning

8. There won’t be any parking lots or parking spaces on roads or in buildings. Garages will be repurposed — maybe as mini loading docks for people and deliveries. Aesthetics of homes and commercial buildings will change as parking lots and spaces go away. There will be a multi-year boom in landscaping and basement and garage conversions as these spaces become available

9. Traffic policing will become redundant. Police transport will also likely change quite a bit. Unmanned police vehicles may become more common and police officers may use commercial transportation to move around routinely. This may dramatically change the nature of policing, with newfound resources from the lack of traffic policing and dramatically less time spent moving around

10. There will be no more local mechanics, car dealers, consumer car washes, auto parts stores or gas stations. Towns that have been built around major thoroughfares will change or fade

11. The auto insurance industry as we know it will go away (as will the significant investing power of the major players of this industry). Most car companies will go out of business, as will most of their enormous supplier networks. There will be many fewer net vehicles on the road (maybe 1/10th, perhaps even less) that are also more durable, made of fewer parts and much more commoditized

12. Traffic lights and signs will become obsolete. Vehicles may not even have headlights as infrared and radar take the place of the human light spectrum. The relationship between pedestrians (and bicycles) and cars and trucks will likely change dramatically. Some will come in the form of cultural and behavioral changes as people travel in groups more regularly and walking or cycling becomes practical in places where it isn’t today

13. Multi-modal transportation will become a more integrated and normal part of our ways of moving around. In other words, we’ll often take one type of vehicle to another, especially when traveling longer distances. With coordination and integration, the elimination of parking and more deterministic patterns, it will become ever-more efficient to combine modes of transport

14. The power grid will change. Power stations via alternative power sources will become more competitive and local. Consumers and small businesses with solar panels, small scale tidal or wave power generators, windmills and other local power generation will be able to sell KiloWattHours to the companies who own the vehicles. This will change “net metering” rules and possibly upset the overall power delivery model. It might even be the beginning of truly distributed power creation and transport. There will likely be a significant boom in innovation in power production and delivery models. Over time, ownership of these services will probably be consolidated across a very small number of companies

15. Traditional petroleum products (and other fossil fuels) will become much less valuable as electric cars replace fuel powered vehicles and as alternative energy sources become more viable with portability of power (transmission and conversion eat tons of power). There are many geopolitical implications to this possible shift. As implications of climate change become ever-clearer and present, these trends will likely accelerate. Petroleum will continue to be valuable for making plastics and other derived materials, but will not be burned for energy at any scale. Many companies, oil-rich countries and investors have already begun accommodating for these changes

16. Entertainment funding will change as the auto industry’s ad spending goes away. Think about how many ads you see or hear about cars, car financing, car insurance, car accessories and car dealers. There are likely to be many other structural and cultural changes that come from the dramatic changes to the transportation industry. We’ll stop saying “shift into high gear” and other driving-related colloquialisms as the references will be lost on future … [more]
predictions  future  cars  cars-electric  cars-self-driving 
march 2018 by daguti
Head-to-Head: Chevrolet Bolt vs. Chevrolet Volt - NY Daily News
Lots of interesting facts. The one that shocked me:
"Also, since the Bolt needs an electric charge in order to run, owners are essentially forced to buy an in-home 240-volt adapter or else they’ll have to suffer the painfully slow charge rate of 4 miles per hour with a standard 120-volt wall outlet. That adds between $1,500 and $2,000 to an owner’s expenses before he or she can even plug the vehicle in."
cars  cars-electric 
february 2018 by daguti
Someone is lying about electric cars on the internet - Album on Imgur
"On the other hand, the world produces about 650,000 tons of lithium each year. Lithium exists mostly in the form of concentrated salts. Almost all that lithium—greater than 95 percent of it—is produced through a process of pumping underground brine to the surface and allowing it to evaporate in big pans. It’s separated from the brine using electrolysis. There’s nothing you would think of as mining. No blasting. No trucks driving around carrying loads of crushed rock. No sprays of sulfuric acid."
cars-electric  batteries 
may 2016 by daguti
This is why Tesla is so insistent on selling direct to customers
strategy = "To engage with potential buyers, it needs small stores in high-traffic areas, not sprawling dealerships on the outskirts of town with hundreds of cars worth of inventory." I would never have realize this. It speaks to the power of rethinking something from the ground up.
strategy  business  cars-electric  cars  companies-tesla-cars 
january 2016 by daguti
Blog Post | Plugging In: The First Electric Cars | Car Talk
I had no idea the first electric car was invented around the same time as the first gas-powered car.
cars-electric  cars  amazing  inventions 
february 2014 by daguti
The Super Supercapacitor | Brian Golden Davis on Vimeo
cars-electric = Being able to charge a phone in 30 seconds is useful, being able to charge a car in 30 seconds is world-changing.
amazing  paradigm-shifts-new-or-emerging-things  paradigm-shifts  cars-electric  batteries  energy  inventions  inventions-that-became-something-else 
december 2012 by daguti

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