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Driverless Cars: The Downsides

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kq4ym
kq4ym  
7/11/2014 9:57:14 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: An alternate approach
I would think the social interaction on public transports is an item needed to be looked at. It would seem though that such interaction might take place in smaller cities, or at least on public transportation that caters to smaller neighborhood units. Those in favor of driverless cars are going to counter that the social media is sufficient for "social interaction" and carryon with one person-one vehicle modes of transport.

Toby
Toby  
7/8/2014 9:01:58 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
The real destination
Yes but this seems to miss the big picture. It is not that driverless cars will take people to the places they think they need to be, it is that driverless cars which have screens for windows and are immobilized because there are so many on the roads there is no way they can move, become virtual teleporters showing us a picture of where we want to be while connecting us to the people who we think should be there ina  virtual 3d environment in the vehicle thus enabling full and productive lives in 'other' places. And so it becomes a virtual vehicle, parked near the front door so you can hang on to the habits of the past without actually leaving your front garden.....

NewDream
NewDream  
7/4/2014 9:19:13 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: An alternate approach
Thanks for clarifying, gagnamstyle. You have a valid point.

Part of my vision is based on the idea of virtually identical and always interchangeable vehicles, all under network control. The computers would keep most congestion from happening, simply by routing the cars around areas of high traffic. Pick-up and drop-off points would be out of the main traffic pattern so the primary motion would virtually never stop.

Clearly this would require quite a bit more than just a few automated cars. But it seems to me a viable model for transport in the future, capable of replacing nearly all that we have today: private cars, taxicabs, and buses would all be obsolete.

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/4/2014 8:46:36 AM
User Rank Burgher
Re: An alternate approach
NewDream, 

I used arterials as an example. It could be any level of street, really. I was trying to counter the utopian vision of automatic valet parking that one of the respondents had painted. Wouldn't it be nice if we drove somewhere and did not have to look for parking? All I was saying is that the act of looking for parking is a branch further out in the driving tree. If the trunk and the lower branches, i.e. arterials, feeders, and even the highways, were jammed, then how much of a benefit would automated valet parking really amount to?

NewDream
NewDream  
7/1/2014 3:58:51 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: An alternate approach
Indeed taxi drivers might suffer. I had not forgotten that but don't have a solution.

As far as your concerns that the congestion would move out to the arterials...I was under the impression that the arterials already have the worst traffic and that was what this concept might help. Am I missing something?

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/1/2014 3:49:35 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: An alternate approach
Hmm...driverless taxis, thats a thought. 

But what about taxi drivers? They are wage-earners, often a the bottom of the pyramid. Currently technology cannot do without them. If driverless cabs replace them, then there is a likely scenario where a big corporation (or two) will become a monopoly (or duopoly). And we all know what big corporate monopolies do to pricing. 

The vision of stepping out of a car at a destination and car finding a parking spot for itself is a very seductive one (I am now addressing another comment), but what if driverless cars, through increased use, add to traffic congetstion? So that the choke point does not remain parking at destination, but instead moves backwards down the tree to the arterials and the trunk?

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/1/2014 3:42:20 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Another downside?
Lovely point Susan, completely agree. Can imagine the day when divorce attorneys are chasing down driverless car data.

Jokes apart, though, there is an inherent and very significant loss of privacy that comes from driverless cars. It is the opposite, almost, of the old phrase of being alone in a crowd. Data mining is so easy that getting lost as an individual in a large group of people is more possible than than thousands of individual, seemingly private, riding around in cars where a server knows every detail of their journeys.

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/1/2014 3:31:09 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Cars on demand
Peter, there is no historically inevitable connection between cars and the US. Or put another way there is no natural disconnect between public transportation and America. It is very man-made, and relatively recent. The currently high auto-usage that we find ourselves laden with, is a result of large-scale policy intervention (some would say state sponsorship of big-auto and big-oil) on part of the Federal and, later, State governments; starting wtih Eisenhower's signing of the Interstate Highways Act.

Just as 60 years of state-sponsorship has created an artificial sense of natural American habitat (centered on car use), I believe that reversing those policies can bring us back to communities of walking, biking and transit use.

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/1/2014 3:26:20 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Phase out
You make a great point about liability (and even more importantly, about responsibility). Cars are potentially life-threatening; if something goes wrong, who shoulders the blame?

gagnamstyle
gagnamstyle  
7/1/2014 3:12:26 PM
User Rank Burgher
MIA in Brasil
Thanks everyone for your wonderful, thoughtful comments. My silence was due to a very happy reason - ten days full of futbol and beach fun in Recife, Rio and Sao Paolo. I will respond to some of your comments separately, in just a sec. 

On my first visit, I found Brazil to be a lovely country. The cities and even small towns, to be full of life. And, I would like to think, that some of that sense of community that I got at every turn and in every moment, was a direct consequence of riding the Metro, walking, jostling and generally interacting with each other in a way that can only happen with infrequent car use.

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