The joy of driving was once an important part of the
American Dream. Take to the open roads meant freedom and adventure. The utilitarian objective of moving from one place to
another just does not seem to possess the same romance. As with all reminiscences of the past, the lingering memories like
to keep the good times close and block out the troubles when possible. This same trait can be applied to the distinctly national
love affair with the auto. But as with all things, times move on and many in the tech community believe that the next advancement
in land travel will come from an AI revolution.
Motor vehicle manufacturers and the oil industry that fuels them became a large part of creating the Big Business
model. Money was to be made. Names like Ford and Firestone rubbed shoulders with the likes of Rockefeller. Today, the stable
of electric and hybrids appeal less to the muscle power consumers who value horsepower, than to the save the planet believers, who are less concerned
about cost per mile.
Such a dilemma is
being transformed by the programming of software that is being designed to take the thinking out of driving. Some may say
that there is very little aptitude in the passing lane at this point anyways and that the promise of an autobahn with a Google
hangouts plugin would enhance the gaming experience in transit.
Well, so much for controlling the direction where the rubber meets the road, the jumbo tech
giants smell money all over this twenty-first century bonanza. When the Washington Post reported, in Google’s artificial intelligence breakthrough may have a huge impact on self-driving cars and much more; “Google researchers have created an algorithm that has a human-like ability to learn, marking a significant breakthrough
in the field of artificial intelligence”, the part timers over at Uber were just given notice.
“A more appealing solution for Google would
be for the car to develop a level of intelligence that’s so high, it wouldn’t need those preloaded maps. It could
simply scan roads in front of it, and teach itself how to drive anywhere.”
In another account, this from Breitbart, Artificial Intelligence Breakthroughs in 2015, the Singularity by 2030.,”Several companies are testing self-driving cars, and they’re expected to be available commercially by 2020.”
That’s just around the corner and it looks you will not have to stop to make a “right” turn.
So what are the economics from this brave new world?
It’s No Myth: Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Erase Jobs in Nearly Every Industry, predicts that “Manufacturing will be returning to U.S. shores with robots doing the job of Chinese workers; American
carmakers will be mass-producing self-driving electric vehicles”, but will also bring about “The first
large wave of unemployment will be caused by self-driving cars. These will provide tremendous benefit by eliminating traffic
accidents and congestion, making commuting time more productive, and reducing energy usage. But they will eliminate the jobs
of millions of taxi and truck drivers and delivery people.”
Xconomy, from the San Francisco Bay area offers this analysis.
“So far most conversations around self-driving
cars focus on personal vehicles. It’s unlikely we’ll take a fully autonomous car for our daily commute for quite
a few years, but commercial trucking will see self-driving vehicles emerge far sooner. One company, Peloton, is already making this a reality. Long haul trucking is an easier technical challenge because interstates are generally
straight lines, well-marked, digitally mapped in high definition, and generally free of pedestrians, bicycles, and other random
obstacles; and the economic productivity of trucks can justify substantial investment in sophisticated cameras, sensors, and
computers needed for autopilot systems. The economic need for autonomous trucks is huge due to the high cost and shortage
of drivers, regulatory limits on driving time, and the fuel efficiency gained from convoys travelling close together in peloton
Lastly, from the respective
McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm - Ten ways autonomous driving could redefine the automotive world. The entire descriptions can be read on their site.
Industrial fleets lead the way
Car OEMs face a decision
New mobility models emerge
The car-service landscape changes
Car insurers might shift their business model
6. Companies could reshape their supply chains
7. Drivers have more time for everything
8. Parking becomes
10. AVs accelerate
robotics development for consumer applications
The economic dislocations can be earth shattering. However, the buggy makers in this round of the transpiration technology
interchange just does not seem to promise the same employment uplifting that Henry Ford’s accomplished with his THE FIVE-DOLLAR DAY—JUMP-STARTING THE MIDDLE CLASS.
Well, when in doubt just go to a Starbucks
and order an iced caramel macchiato. You might even get change. Is this the kind of benefit consumers could expect from having
“more time for everything”?
Control of the transport market may bear an Apple logo, using a Microsoft operating system, built by Toyota, delivered
by Bezos drones and sold through Musk marketing “programming” commercials, carried in Google ads. As for the displaced
UAW workers, just chat and text from your smart devices, your unemployment benefits just ran out.
The future of truck stops on the nations’ interstates might need to convert
to electric plug in stations for all those dependable green renewals and become rest areas for the travelling porn circuit,
since such engagements may be the only services that AI cannot replace. Some even argue that may not be true.
The merchant economy is the only alternative to this
Metropolis Melodrama induced society that is destroying the financial futures of most households. The billionaire ranks swell, while the consumers
starve. Trading in your Ferrari sports car for a dependable Argentine Criollos steed may not be practical or appealing for
most. However, compared to navigating the highways as cargo in an artificial intelligence environment; taking a greyhound
bus looks more attractive than ever.
Hall – January 27, 2016