Pages

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Are Going to Change Everything

Recent News:

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Complete 300K Miles Without Accident, Deemed Ready For Commuting
http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/07/google-cars-300000-miles-without-accident/


Here's what is going to happen in the next 5-10 years. It won't all happen right away.


  • The car insurance industry will cease to exist. These cars aren't going to crash. Even if there are hold-outs that drive themselves, insurance would be so expensive they couldn't afford it, as no one else would need it. 

  • If the cars don't crash, then the auto collision repair / auto body industry goes away. The car industry also shrinks† as people don't have to replace cars as often.

  • Long-haul truck driving will cease to exist. Think how much money trucking companies will save if they don't have to pay drivers or collision and liability insurance. That's about 3 million jobs in the States. Shipping of goods will be much cheaper.

  • On that note, no more bus drivers, taxi drivers, limo drivers.

  • Meter maids. Gone. Why spend $20 on parking when you can just send the car back home? There goes $40 million in parking revenue to the City of Vancouver by the way. 

  • Many in cities will get rid of their cars altogether and simply use RoboTaxis. They will be much cheaper than current taxis due to no need for insurance (taxi insurance costs upwards of $20,000/year), no drivers, and no need for taxi medallions (which can cost half a million in Vancouver). You hit a button on your iPhone Android, and your car is there in a few minutes.

  • Think how devastating that would be to the car industry. People use their cars less than 10% of the time. Imagine if everyone in your city used a RoboTaxi instead, at say 60% utilization. That's 84% fewer cars required. Currently, at peak travel times, only 12% of cars are in use - so, you don't need that many cars, even at rush hour (So a more realistic drop of 80%...)

  • No more deaths or injuries from drinking and driving. MADD disappears. The judicial system, prisons, and hospital industry shrink due to the lack of car accidents†. 6 million crashes in 2010 (USA). 2.3 million hospital visits from car accidents (USA 2009). $300 billion annual cost from crashes (USA)

  • Car sharing companies like Zip, Modo, Car2Go are all gone. Or, one of them morphs into a robo-taxi company.

  • Safety features in cars disappear (as they are no longer needed), and cars will become relatively cheaper. Cars become lighter too (more fibreglass), and thus more fuel efficient.

Objections:
  • "People will want to drive their own car". Of course, and no one is stopping them. But they will have to pay very high car insurance premiums. 

Who is it good for?

  • Consumers. A family of four can probably get by with one car that shuttles everyone to and from work, school. Save $2000+ a year on car insurance. Read on your way to work. 
  • Bars and restaurants. Everyone can now drink and drive safely! More alcohol is sold.
  • The elderly and disabled can get around on their own more easily.
  • Cyclists and pedestrians - fewer deaths from cars

† to the degree that they are affected by this

59 comments:

  1. You obviously live on a different planet, where common sense is common, sought after and rewarded.

    Here, on Earth, anything that generates millions will only be replaced with something that generates more millions. How can you generate more millions in crony capitalism? By generating more obstacles and charging for a way to get past them. Simplification is the enemy of all levels of management.

    Consumers are not supposed to win. Governments are.

    If driverless cars make as much sense as you describe, they will become illegal, as too many parasites are at risk.

    I hope I am awfully wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh I was all excited until you chimed in with your "down-to-earthly" logic.. blast you..

      Delete
    2. OK, that means someone has to tell them less deaths = more consumers.

      Delete
    3. "Consumers are not supposed to win. Governments are."

      Im sorry, this is ridiculous. There is no conspiracy that the government wants to steal all your money. As an analogy, the government used to make a lot of money on postal mail. However, with the invention of email, we can now communicate without that fee. Did the government place some boundary to stop us from taking away from their market?

      That is not to say that there wont be regulation of the industry. However, said regulation will not be imposed for the financial benefit of the government (as regulation usually costs the government money), but rather to make sure that we know who is legally responsible if two driverless cars crash into each other and related scenarios. The author makes it seem like there will be no accidents, but as the yiddish saying goes: "man plans, god laughs"

      Delete
    4. This is very useful web page and I will analyze out this web page again later on.
      中古車買取

      Delete
  2. I agree with most of what you said except the timeline. Replacing the cars, even in North America, with self-driving versions will take more like 25-40 years, not 5-10. It takes a long time for a car to work its way from "brand new off-the-lot" to "wrecker's yard", and until you move most of those cars through the system so that the trickle-down car owners also get the self-driving, there will still be significant numbers of non-self-driving car owners. Just because it's cool tech doesn't mean they're going to sell incredible numbers of them -- remember, many people *enjoy* driving.

    For a reasonable analogue, look at the up-take on electric cars, and extend that -- no-one seriously thinks we're going to have replaced all (or even the majority) of the cars on the road with electric within the next 5-10 years. The last stats I saw predicted that the majority of *new* cars sold will break 50% in the next 10-15 years, but that's not even close to the *total* number of cars on the road, especially in areas which don't use salt on their roads in winter (i.e. much of the USA).

    Having said this, we should start to see *benefits* from this tech in 10 years, because the math says that replacing ~20% of the cars on the road with self-driving cars will significantly increase traffic throughput and decrease congestion. Most congestion is not due to too many cars, but instead to too many stupid drivers who don't drive properly for heavy flow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I agree that all of the author's predictions are unlikely to occur within the next ten years due to what I'll call legacy issues, I take issue with your analogy with electric cars.

      Electric cars are not a reasonable analogue at all. They still have functional barriers to adoption- range being the most obvious one. This is a hugely significant problem which self-driving cars need not have.

      This is a paradigm shift, not a change in energy storage. I would specify safety (in adverse conditions), bureacracy, or possibly political motivation as the primary barriers to adoption here, very different to electric cars.

      Delete
    2. Its a better analogy than you give it credit. For example, there are hybrid electric cars which dont have the limitations that you speak of, yet they also arent that prevalent. Furthermore, consider every how long people replace their cars. I know of many people that have had their cars for 20 years+.

      Delete
    3. hybird cars don't make economic sense except in the extreme cases. if there were an electric car that cost a $1 a day to run and could go 500 miles and cost what a normal car costs there would be huge demand.

      Delete
  3. I disagree with one point: it won't *necessarily* be bad for car companies.
    Cars running at a much higher duty cycle will either need to be replaced more often or will be more expensive. Or both.

    If brands stop mattering, it'll be great for GM, not so good for BMW.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be good for car companies in the short-run, as people replace their cars for safer, self-driving ones. But, it will be bad for the current big boys in the long run. An upstart like Tesla could benefit here.

      Delete
  4. In your dream. These devices are marketed as GPS, not to replace human, but facilitate driving. The only thing I hope is there might be less zig zag smart asses or those too cautious drivers on the road.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Insurance company lobbyists will find a way to kill it. Something will happen and "it just won't be ready for prime time".

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't understand why insurance premiums would be higher. Fewer drivers does not mean the number or severity of accidents would go up per capita. In fact if all the other cars are being driven by robots, they'd probably be able to avoid an accident better than a human would, which would decrease the number of accidents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is why premiums would go up: fewer people paying them because they don't need them because they have robo cars, so the insurance pool decreases, so premiums go up for the fewer people who need them. Premiums are not just tied to your likelihood of getting in an accident.

      Delete
    2. Yes, they are. That is how insurance works. If you have a 10% chance of getting in an accident which costs $5000 every 10 years, then your insurance must charge at least $50 a year ((10% of 5000)/10 years). Any more than that is profit on the insurance companies side, any less is a loss. The multitudes of other people matters in that insurance companies take advantage of the law of large numbers.

      Delete
  7. This article sounds like its written by someone who fears change. Other possible predictions: increase demand for engineers(software/hardware), increase demand for mechanics with electronics background. massive environment bonuses from radically more efficient driving. And why would it be bad for car companies? There are still cars being built sold whether a human is behind the wheel or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fears change? Really? When I read the article, I hear someone excited about change - which is a sentiment I share.

      Delete
    2. While there are some negative outcomes, it will be a major plus for humanity. Far fewer resources used, far less carbon emitted, far fewer young people dying in accidents. I welcome this change.

      Delete
  8. I disagree with several points, thought overall I think it's a pretty well thought out list. I think a HUGE point though that you missed is the massive reduction in traffic. If these cars are hooked up to real time traffic reports, they will automatically reroute. And by everyone constantly rerouting, it means traffic essentially vanishes.

    And then to take this further, it means people no longer need to live as close to work. This ends the need for densely populated urban centers.

    Bottom line is that if/when self-driving cars hit critical mass, we are looking at a truly massive shift in how we even think of what a city is. Much bigger things are on the horizon than "more alcohol is sold"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "And then to take this further, it means people no longer need to live as close to work. This ends the need for densely populated urban centers."

      This is a common response and one I doubt. The more general benefits of urbanism are being rediscovered in the US, so I don't think robocars will halt the current sunsetting of the post-war suburban experiment. It's simply been proven to be an unpleasant way for humans to live, with instead the narrow street, mixed-use form of the 2000+ years previous returning after a weird 60 year hiatus.

      If these are robotaxis, there's still a lag between your decision to go somewhere and the robotaxi turning up at your door, which will mean more people walking and cycling and demanding services closer to home. There's a big mental shift when people don't own their own car.

      And time doesn't go away, even if it might be considered productive. You can theoretically work on the train or an empty bus, and many do, but it's still worse than walking 15 minutes along a pleasant street to the office.

      And congestion is induced by our current street design: there's often no way to reroute. Local > collector > arterial. Geometry means SOVs, however smart, are less efficient than walking 15 minutes to the office.

      Delete
  9. Why would I want to /buy/ a car?

    Rather, I'll phone up the Car Company and one will just appear. Better, it'll be what I need for the trip and nothing more. So, if I need to take the family to the local town for shopping, I'll get a seven-seat SUV. If it's just me and my wife, it'll be a little two-seat runabout.

    It makes the school run rather interesting, too: I call the Car Company and a car arrives to take the kids. If I want to save money then it'll most likely send over a shared minibus that's already got another half-dozen kids inside it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Only a correction: you press your android's button, not iPhone.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ever caused an accident without making a mistake? These cars may cause less accidents, but thinking they "aren't going to crash" is naive. This means, the insurance industry will stay, insurance will still be required in many countries, though an insurance might become cheaper instead of more expensive in those countries.

    Oh and paying people is only one factor of costs. I don't think "shipping of goods will be much cheaper." and if so, this might become an ecological nightmare due to increased traffic.

    I'm also not sure about "automated" public transportation. There might be more to a drivers job there than just driving.

    "The judicial system, prisons, and hospital industry shrink due to the lack of car accidents." is so naive it's already funny. Sounds like "80% of prisoners are in prison due to car accidents" or "85% of people treated in hospitals a there due to traffic accidents", ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A driver-less system has a reaction time you can't even process. You can be bumper to bumper traffic and it can handle a car going 100 slamming on it's breaks as hard as it can without getting phased. Almost all accidents are human error.

      Delete
  12. I hear what people are saying about how long this will take. But the problem will be with legality...as more people take up robo-cars (in whatever arrangement, whether it be hiring from a car company or owning one), the people who can't afford them will be forced to carry the cost of insurance, registration and licence fees. That will mean lots more illegal drivers, and the 'self-drive' car industry will start to criminalise. Fake registrations, hardware and software to block automatic registration checks by police, fake licences, robberies to pay for fines. While the drink driving part of criminal law will probably massively decrease, the law-breaking will simply move to self-drivers.
    But the rest will be fascinating to watch! I really hope it happens, if only for the interest factor.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Beautifully put, I touched on most of these topics on my site as well (worth a read in my biased opinion) www.sieglspeaks.com/blog.php

    But anyway, the one MAJOR point that I disagree with is the one about the insurance companies disappearing; it'll happen, but more within 30 to 50 years. Insurance companies have one of the largest and unhealthy government-created monopolies in the entire country and there are multiple facets that need to be addressed before they disappear for good (and for the better). One: You're self-driving car can still be hit, and when it comes to insurance lobbies they'll make sure that you'll have to be covered for that too. Two: Like mentioned above, it will take awhile before every car on the road is atomized, this means insurance will have to be around to cover the people who want to drive on their own. But won't people always have a desire to drive cars on their own? I don't know? Do people still drive Ford Model T's on the road? (my point is that given time, everything completes a full cycle and changes completely).

    But other than the point about the insurance, most of these things I completely agree with. From an optimists point of view these changes could start to arrive in 5 years, from a pessimists, probably closer to 20. My gut feeling is that we'll really start to see change sometime around 2025, although I could be drastically underestimating the rapid growth of technology.

    Shout out to Hacker News

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was thinking for this few days ago.
    And bullet #3 is what troubles me - because my parents are both Truck Drivers, and probably one day I could become one as well - I guess it's not very good solution when people will lost their jobs. But it's great innovation anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But with everyone out of work we will have time for what we want to do? OR would you rather not have a utopian society OR live in a hell scape with your nose literally to a grind stone?

      Delete
  15. also. it will be an android phone, not an iphone.. at least for the majority of the planet, its already that way now ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. You forgot things like snow, rain, etc. The cars haven't been tested in those environment yet, only in nice happy warm and shiny environments.

    Also, I live in the mountains and google maps are still not very accurate.

    but all that, i'll take a car which can drive me 70% of the way and let me drive the last 30%.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Actually maximum people are using alcohol before driving that’s why everyday car or any vehicles drivers are suffered accidents on road, but people are why should drinking it is I can’t understand that. Wow that’s great news for us is Google introducing a new computer controlling car which is avoiding some road accidents.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Less accidents with auto collision avoidance technology :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. this is such a nice and useful information for us...i appreciate urs word........Wedding transport

    ReplyDelete
  25. The post is written in very a good manner and it contains much useful information for me.

    ReplyDelete
  26. ny limo net car service  team of friendly and courteous drivers possesses the experience, knowledge and skills to ensure that our passengers travel comfortably, safely and luxuriously. This combined know-how, the state of art limo service, the quality of our vehicles allows us to provide the most professional ny limo net car service to every customer.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm assuming all these so called "robocars" will be electric. How does the timeline you suggest affect the diffusion of innovation for EVs? Is the next step for Google to buy Tesla and start making EVs? Shanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's actually a terrible assumption. Electric cars have a myriad of problems associated with them, least of all being range, efficiency of battery, cost, etc. Maybe once the EV tech gets better and it can effectively compete with combustion engine cars, maybe. But this tech is not dependent on said car being electric, and should be compatible with either electric or combustion engine cars.

      Delete
  28. I am grateful to you for this great content.I am reading your article and its very nice, useful & helpful for those guys who wanna know about the same. Thanks for sharing this useful information.
    Cash for Cars Wellington

    ReplyDelete
  29. At nyc limo, nyc limo’s clients motivate us to even more enhance and increase our car services.nyc limo’s dedication is to offer a broad selection of transportation solutions for our clients. Apart from the stretch limousines in our fleet, nyc limo also offer vans, sedans, and SUVs to cater to the different requirements of our clients.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Who wouldnt want a car that is gonna drive itself? But I think its gonna make everyone lazy and thats a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. nice info..all of us needs car insurance because its so very important its for our own safety specially we don't know what will happen along the way

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am a huge fan already, man. You have done a brilliant job making sure that people understand where you are coming from. And let me tell you, I get it. Great stuff and I cant wait to read more of your blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Limousine Serviceand provide for dedicated use to business executives and travelers in the California Bay Area. We offer the highest quality transportation services, at reasonable rates, without sacrificing your comfort or safety.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I saw once in Discovery channel goggle's experimental self-driving car. Equipped with LADAR or laser radar, the computer driven car can sense 3D picture of environment; and thus able to avoid obstacles ahead, stop at appropriate place such as stop lights, adjust gear shift when going uphill, move backward and sense approaching or fellow cars. Still, there are obstacles to overcome to make a perfect self-driving car. Someday, in the nearest future, we shall see robotic cars like mentioned in your blog. What can be perceived is that, there are advantages and disadvantages coming with the invention of this fantastic technology. A robotic car can be fun for anyone and driver training for nervous adults minneapolis

    ReplyDelete
  35. Woah this blog is magnificent i really like reading your articles about Driver Training. Driving expertise is polar to passing a road or skills test.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Cabs service in san francisco Provide caters to the Taxi Cab, Executive Sedan Limo Town Cars, Event Transportation, airport transportation and Stretch Limousine service needs of customers in the California Bay Area.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The post you written is very good and it entails many useful information for me about driving. I am happy to find your great way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept.
    Driving Lessons

    ReplyDelete
  38. The largest san francisco cab service in its range, the Minibus seats a maximum of up to 9 adult passengers with full luggage; or a maximum of 13 adult passengers with no luggage.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Self-driving cars? That sounds awesome! Perhaps some people are now looking forward to the next 5–10 years for this car to exist.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks for this, I really appreciate what you have done here.

    ReplyDelete
  41. You are able to hail or require a taxis in nashville. All the key accommodations have stands or hosting parts, but certainly recommended to check on with concierge in advance. Friday and Saturday nights get really active, therefore if contacting for a cab, achieve this many hours beforehand to produce a reservation.

    ReplyDelete