California this week passed SB 1298, a bill requiring the Dept. of Motor Vehicles to adopt new regulations and performance requirements for automated, driverless cars.
The really eye-popping part of this announcement was the vote - a unanimous passage by the State Senate. With the California state government deadlocked on issues from the public debt to high-speed rail, from prison sizes to illegal immigration, such one-sided agreement signals the imminent arrival of a technology that brings so many benefits it will touch virtually every aspect of our lives.
The adoption of driverless cars will benefit us by:
vastly reducing the number and severity of traffic accidents through wireless transponders, sophisticated radar and lidar sensors, and intelligent software (Google's driverless car has logged 300,000 miles without a single accident under automated operation)
freeing up countless hours of productive time by allowing people to sleep, read, converse, eat, or work during their time in transit (in an era when continued productivity gains and speed are needed to stay ahead of competing nations, imagine the burst of productivity this will unleash)
reducing the need for private car ownership, helping people save money and reducing the space dedicated to parking (cars today cost $50 per day with all costs, including parking and lost time, included, and are parked over 90% of the time)
greatly diminish the environmental impact of cars (a recent study showed that a typical mid-sized city in the Midwest could serve the transportation needs of its population with under 1-minute wait times while reducing the number of cars from 120,000 to 20,000)
increasing the speed and reliability of delivery services for mail, parcels, merchandise, and food (imagine delivery services that work 24 hours per day, don't take lunch breaks, and follow perfectly optimized routes and schedules)
And this is just the beginning. With the incorporation of high-performance alternative energy sources, robust internet connectivity, smart infrastructure, and even better AI, our current system of private transportation will seem as old and antiquated as horses and buggies seem to us today.
Tiago Forte Tiago est Project Manager à faberNovel San Francisco...