Welcome to the end of the week! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy this weeks roundup of interesting reads in another edition of Happy Hour.
We came one step closer to self driving cars when Google unveiled the first prototype this week. As someone who hasn’t driven in over a decade, I fully support this. The idea of being driven around as opposed to driving is refreshing, certainly less stressful, and more efficient than our current system.
Back in 1769, some guy had the brilliant idea of using steam to move a ton of metal around and then he sat on it. The first car was born. Even more brilliant ideas followed suit. A new engine using small explosions was added. Then more power was added, which increased speed and the people rejoiced.
Ever since then the legal system and car makers have been in a race to add more features to protect us from our faster, more powerful boxes of metal instead of removing the flaw in the system.
Still, we’re a few decades away from seeing large-scale usage. But the potential is there to change several industries. Any business that uses vehicles to offer a service will benefit from removing the human factor.
As a non driver in a big city getting anywhere means walking, public transportation, or taking a cab. If you’ve ever been in a cab before, at some point you’ll get a driver that thinks the most efficient way from point A to point B is 90 mph. It’s an absolute certainty at some point you’ll get a cab driver with a questionable record.
This won’t be an issue with self driving cabs. Imagine walking out of the office, you tap an app on your phone to hail a cab, your location is sent to the company, and the closest available car pulls up a few seconds later. You say your destination or tap it on maps and you’re off on the most efficient route possible.
The same can be done with delivery services like UPS, FedEx, the post office, and heavy-duty truck fleets. The end product is lower costs from better fuel efficiency, no driver to pay, and lower insurance costs. When you remove accidents from the equation, there’s no need for auto insurance anymore.
The first self driven car accident will be the litmus to how the legal system views responsibility. Who’s at fault when there is no driver, the owner or the manufacturer? I’d speculate that insurance requirements would transfer from the driver/owner to the manufacturer.
That’s just one of many legal issues to work through. The lobbying effort against this will be huge. It will be interesting to see if the push back from the insurance industry can slow the advancement of this technology. As we’ve seen before, the speed of new technology acceptance is very dependent on legal approval and how quickly other industries change with it.
In other news, the Moon has faster internet service than most Americans.