TED Conversations

Sarina Hannon

This conversation is closed.

How do you imagine self driving cars will change the future?

Lets say this design will be (and will be seen as) a total success.
Lets assume safety will skyrocket.

I'm especially interested in the options freedom from crashes would allow for car design.

Couldn't cars communicate?

How about people? could driving become more socially connective if people were free from staring at the road?

I want to hear about social networking opportunities! :D

Add in anything you find interesting! :D Thanks!

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 31 2011: This should be the future for driver-less parcel delivery.
    I imagine driver-less carts, about the size of a shopping trolley, that deliver items from A to B, without the need for a driver.
    They would be web connected and take the most efficient rout from A to B, depending on traffic.
    They would have no driver and therefore could be lightweight, and fuel efficient.
    You could go to a web site, order one to come to your house, fill it up with packages, and send it to your friend.
    You only pay for the time you use it, then it drives away to run an errand for someone else nearby.
    These autonomous couriers could be electric and take them selves to charging stations, or maybe you get a discount if you charge it yourself at your home.
    - less fuel used
    - more reliable
    - reduced traffic
    - more convenient
    - facilitates new efficiencies in supply chain

    These could change the way shopping is done.
    Currently all the goods need to be trucked from the various factories to the supermarket.
    In the future that model could change.
    If you just need a new toaster, your driver-less courier pod could drive directly to the white goods warehouse, which may be closer than the supermarket. That warehouse would not need a shop front.
    Basically, the pod would look at your shopping list and only go the the places it needs to, and do it in the most efficient way.
    As a result, new efficiencies would be possible in the supply chain.
    • Apr 1 2011: You just blew my mind. Trucks don't need drivers any more. Only people who wants to go from A to B needs to be inside the vehicle.
    • Apr 1 2011: The technology of military drones could easily be ported to use on the roads, so what you imagine could be implemented quite easily. The issue is one of the acceptance of driverless vehicles. For passengers, this probably wouldn't be a problem -- many airports have driverless train systems connecting the terminals, and nobody seems bothered by it. But acceptance by other live drivers might be harder. On the other hand, it shouldn't be any worse than getting stuck behind the old guy in a Cadillac driving slowly in the left lane...
    • Apr 1 2011: I imagine the future of "shopping" will be pretty different than the present, and that relying on the old concept of having to go to a special marketplace to shop will not be the case. Just look at the amazing progress in 3D printing - people creating their own custom items - plates, cups, forks and other small objects, for now. But I can see how designers & developers could sell software licences or create free, open source designs for more complex items, all ready to print and use. Information used to be told by word of mouth, then written down by hand, then printed using a mechanical machine, then digitized and almost instantly transported across the globe. I don't see a reason why this couldn't happen with materials & goods.

      The only application I can see for traditional goods exchange is larger or more technologically advanced items that couldn't be printed, and food delivery to some extent, since we've all seen the boom of home-grown or locally-grown food. Growing food in vertical farms in the city will ultimately change the delivery process. I could even see the pneumatic tube being reborn for in-building or even city-wide delivery of goods.

      Now, we're not even talking about catoms & claytronics, which will also be a game changer one day. Having reusable and reprogrammable matter is probably the highest level of technology I can think of, save teleportation and time travel.

      TL;DR: The future is going to be pretty awesome.
    • Apr 10 2011: The best discussion so far on this.

      My mind has been spinning ever since the video. Here's how I see it.

      Firstly, personal car ownership will go the way of the dodo. Imagine Vodafone or Sprint but for cars. You will sign up to a monthly plan which covers 1000km + 5c/km.. for example.

      Secondly, the majority of vehicles will be super-light. No steel required to protect one's self.

      Thirdly, these fleets would definitely be fuelled by electricity generated by solar or wind power. Even if you were taking a journey longer than the car could handle (say.. 1000km+), another car could meet you and take over.

      Fourth, pretty much anyone who works on the ground level in logistics or transport will lose their job.. as will those associated with mechanics, auto parts dealerships, petrol station attendants, car parts manufacturers, car insurance, car finance, car sales, cute car accessories...

      Fifth, these vehicles will not only travel with a small gap, they will very often travel with zero gap, automatically linking up with one another in an enormous improvement in aerodynamics much like cyclists. Given that these cars will begin to emerge while other cars are still on the road, they will probably occupy the far lane in order not to get in the way of human drivers

      Sixth, the need to park will be eliminated, thereby dispensing with all parking stations, parking spots and inner-city congestion... probably killing off many inner-city roads which could be converted to parks, public space or additional housing.

      Seventh, the roads will probably start seeing vehicles that specifically sell products to those who are moving - coffee, lunch, whatever..

      Eigth, the cost of housing construction, food and most basic necessities will drop as more space becomes available and very importantly the huge cost of logistics evaporates.

      Ninth, contrary to expectations an enormous rise in cycling on the now-safe roads
      • thumb
        Apr 10 2011: Hmmm "linking up" that is a clever bit that I had not imagined.What if the larger freeways had power strips so you were actually recharging for the bulk of a long journey?What if your drone just clamped on the back of long train of drones being pulled by much larger vehicle?
    • Apr 10 2011: http://www.big.dk/projects/audi/ this link was posted above and pretty much nails it until the bizarre road tiles concept
    • Apr 10 2011: If that is implemented lot of drivers would be jobless. But for risky jobs, such implementation is thumbs up.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.