Autonomous cars are right around the corner, we already have videos of people falling asleep in traffic and their car is driving them along. They are basically here, and a huge change in our daily routine is about to change, and a world of possibilities is about to open up. This change doesn’t come with great consequences. Think about this is terms of a benefit at first. We can basically work while we travel, entertain ourselves on long drives, or at the very least remain glued to our phones while we head to our destination. The weekly average is about 5 hours of driving, and that goes way up for those who head into cities and deal with massive amounts of traffic each day. Think about all that time getting freed up for us to consume more. Think about how we can start advertising in cars, because we are no longer worried about keeping someone’s attention on the road. There are many rules to build boards that can be changed once we have computers controlling us getting around and marketing opportunities are going to open up greatly.
As I was thinking about this future of self-driving cars, I can’t help but think what other factors can also change that we are all use to seeing. Firstly, the billions upon billions of dollars we spend each year to keep the current situation is unfathomable. Think about this in just the perspective of the state trooper or police officer that gets most of their revenue from squeezing it out of their community. Not by taxes, but by speed traps, red light camera’s, DUI stops, and any other way to get more than just your 40% of all your income in taxes. We no longer need these things anymore if we make it illegal to own a car that doesn’t operate itself. We can remove all the state-run programs to “keep us safe” by fining us and taking our money when we make mistakes on the road. These programs can be reduced down to only needing them to respond to situations where they are needed, instead of them injecting themselves into situations where we did not ask for their assistance.
The next big factor would be, if all the vehicles were self-driving, they would need a GPS to perform those tasks. If all cars on the road were GPS tracked, we would no longer need any form of direction signs, red lights, stop signs, yields, or any sign at all. If all cars on the road knew where all other cars where, there would be no traffic because it could be sequenced using the data of all the cars moving around. There would be no need for red lights because the cars would speed up or slow down to accommodate each other at intersections, thousands of feet before they ever get there. There would be no traffic, even in situations where many people are heading to the same place. When people enter the destination, the cars can communicate with each other, and they can see a specific number of cars heading in that direction, and it can calculate their speed and route to make sure there is no lag in the process. When a pedestrian is crossing the street and the cars are clear to continue to drive, instead of the first car moving, then the second, then the third, and so on. The cars instead would all start to move at the same time, avoiding the delay and removing the stop and go mentality of today’s drivers.
Moving forward, we would no longer need truck drivers, as the truck can bring stores their supplies without any additional help. This will obviously not be very highly thought of for trucker unions, but just like Uber took out taxi’s, self-driving will remove uber from the equation in the future as well. Delivery systems can be adapted to be used without drivers as well. Imagine ordering a delivery vehicle to your house, putting in your package, and then sending that package directly to the recipient without any human interaction. The fastest possibly way to actually ship something. We would be able to set destinations 8 hours away, set the alarm and go to sleep and wake up on vacation somewhere. The demand for Winnebago’s and travelling homes would skyrocket, as people would no longer feel tethered down and free to just set a destination and arrive when ready. What we need to invest is a travelling refuel station that can refuel as cars are driving, so we can remove all need for gas stations as well. Obviously through advancements in technology it would be good to get to a point where we are using reusable energy like wind, solar, turbine and anything else that isn’t burning dinosaurs to go fast.
In the end, the self-driving car is right around the corner, and not many people are thinking of the impact this is going to make on our society. It’s an exciting time to be a part of such a revolutionary scenario, and it’s time to capitalize on those changes and enjoy the benefits!