Streets Filled With Driverless Cars: A Perpetual Fantasy?

Remember how the Jetsons promised us flying cars? Well, futuristic visions of car travel have a way of falling short of the wild expectations.

Google's robo-car prototype. Photo: ##http://inhabitat.com/google-succeeds-in-making-driverless-cars-legal-in-nevada/##Inhabitat##

Jarret Walker at Human Transit wonders if some of the grand visions coming from driverless car prognosticators might be similarly science-fiction-esque. He takes particular issue with author Richard Gilbert, who speculates in a series for the Globe and Mail [PDF] that “driverless taxis” will eventually render transit obsolete.

Walker says no one has really explained how we will get from here to there:

This, and much of the discussion around driverless cars, is in the complete imagined future mode. Gilbert describes a world in which the driverless cars are already the dominant mode, and where our cities, infrastructure, and cultural expectations have already been reorganized around their potential and needs.

Some complete imagined futures are not necessarily achievable, because the future must be evolved. In fact, the evolution of organisms is a fairly apt metaphor for how cities and infrastructure change. As in evolution, each incremental state in the transformation to the new reality must itself be a viable system. We can think of lots of wonderful futures that would be internally consistent but for which there is no credible path from here to there.

I will begin to take driverless cars seriously when I see credible narratives about all the intermediate states of their evolution, and how each will be an improvement that is both technically and culturally embraced. How will driverless and conventional cars mix in roads where the needs of conventional cars still dominate the politics of road design? How will they come to triumph in this situation? How does the driverless taxi business model work before the taxis are abundant? Some of the questions seem menial but really are profound: When a driverless car is at fault in the accident, to what human being does that fault attach? The programmer? What degree of perfection is needed for software that will be trusted to protect not just the driver, but everyone on the street who is involuntarily in the presence of such a machine?

Sure, driverless taxis might replace many lower-ridership bus lines, but wouldn’t buses become driverless at the same time? In such a future, wouldn’t any fair pricing make these driverless buses much cheaper to use where volumes are high? Wouldn’t there be a future of shared vehicles of various sizes, many engaged in what we would recognize as public transit? As with all things PRT, I notice a frequent slipperiness in explanations of it; I’m not sure, at each moment, whether we’re talking about something that prevents you from having to ride with strangers (the core pitch of “Personal” rapid transit) as opposed to just a more efficient means of providing public transit, i.e. a service that welcomes the need to ride with strangers as the key to its efficient use of both money and space.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Better Institutions compares different state laws to determine might actually be effective in curbing drunk driving. The Naked City explains why Charlotte may have a difficult time funding construction of its streetcar system. And Urban Places and Spaces looks at the decades-long evolution of the suburbs.

  • The allure of a driverless car is that you can travel nearly door to door without having the burden of operating the vehicle or needing to pay attention to the road. However, that reality already exists. Its called a bus. When its below ground its called a train. An added bonus, you don’t even need to find parking for it. Why is this news to people? Mass Transit is here and its real. And if we seriously commit to it, we can make it way more useful than any driverless vehicle ever will be. 

  • Ian Turner

    Well, I think it is possible to force the complete imagined future, if there is a consensus (at least among elites) that such a future is inevitable. After all, that’s how we ended up with the car dependence we have today: It didn’t really evolve, it was forced into place through government intervention, in the form of highly intrusive regulation (think zoning and parking policy) and via massive subsidies (think interstate highway system, among others). These policies were possible to sell because most people believed that such infrastructure was necessary to support the inevitable auto-focused future.

  • “Driverless cars will make mass transit will be obsolete!” Really? Can driverless cars, often carrying one (or no passengers if it’s hunting for parking) match the efficiency of the NYC Subway, getting millions of people around a crowded metro area? They might do well in low-density places, but in urban areas, high-capacity rail is still the best solution. And even in those low-density places, I would imagine calling for a self-driving taxi to take you on a custom route will still cost more than catching the self-driving bus that runs a prescribed route. I love the logic of our “everyone needs a car” nation.

  • David

    The desperate hope that technology will make single occupancy vehicles so sexy that suburbia which is unsustainable without them can survive.   

  • Anonymous

    And as Walker has also pointed out, driverless cars can’t repeal the laws of geometry.

    http://www.humantransit.org/2012/08/bus-stigma-and-driverless-cars-email-of-the-month.html

  • Can I have my driverless car just circle the block forever if there isn’t a free parking spot?

  • Anonymous

    In a congested urban environment, all driverless cars will accomplish is freeing the driver of paying attention while stuck in traffic.

  • even here in NYC there are lots of places trains don’t go and taking a bus is too long. when i take my kids to the doctor i have to drive because the doctor is a 30 minute walk from the nearest subway station

  • Ian Turner

    @yahoo-BGNRXB6JCU7H5ESMJ76F64WMZM:disqus : You need to get a different doctor.

  • Anonymous

    The idea of a driverless car is a relic from the old paradigm of thinking. That is the paradigm created in the first post-WWII decades when the car was fully embraced without any recognition of the negative effects. Specifically, regardless of how it is powered (electric, combustion, or some hybrid of the two) or who is driving it (software or a person), it will *always* be the last efficient way to move people around in urban environments. After all, a car requires several thousand pounds to move around maybe 200 lbs of people (plus a bag or two). Compare this to a bike that weighs maybe 30 lbs and can carry the same amount. Because of this weight, cars require massive amounts of power, available almost instantly at the twitch of your foot, which also means they can easily maim vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists. And they also take up an incredible amount of space which, in an urban environment, as a precious resource.

    In the end, making a car driverless may reduce the number of deaths caused by car-on-car accidents on freeway-type roads (I remain extremely skeptical that such cars will, in the conceivable future, be able to operate safely in an urban environment with so many distractions, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.), but it will do absolutely nothing to address all the other problems with cars: noise (most of which is inherent to air flowing over the car and the wheels running over the ground, but also over-powered stereos, over-used horns, and completely useless car alarms), contribution to the obesity epidemic, contribution to sprawl and hence loss of biodiversity, contribution to the dehumanization of our cities (which leads to other social problems), and inefficient use of precious space. And, as the article pointed out, I believe they will introduce new problems associated with rushing headlong into new technology without proper consideration of all the negative effects of such technology. If we are looking for better, safer, more efficient ways to move people around, it should be via expanding walking, cycling, and public transit usage, not driverless cars. Driverless cars are nothing but a techie’s fantasy.

  • Anonymous

    self driving vehicles already exist, and I would imagine that we are within 10 years from seeing this technology on the roads in personal vehicles. 

    If nothing else, it should increase the efficiency and reduce reckless, drunk, or otherwise unsafe driving.

    In terms of changing transportation dynamics relative to mass transit options, it depends on whether a fleet driverless vehicles can provide significant advantages over traditional taxi service.   If the cost of taxi service could be reduced through automation and better efficiency in scheduling and distribution, it would become a better substitute for both trips currently made by transit and trips currently made by private car.

    Of course, much of the current cost of taxi service comes from the market distortions introduced by the artificially tight supply of taxi medallions.  It’s possible to imagine a future in which a car without the labor cost of a driver or the regulatory cost of a medallion can provide transportation that is cost competitive with both transit and private car ownership, but a lot would have to change for that be a reality.

  • at least 100 pediatricians within walking distance from where i live. too bad none of them are chief of pediatrics at the best hospital in the area

  • Net energy, net energy, net energy.  We have to transition away from energy-gobbling  private cars, not pretend we can replace them with driverless ones. Let’s look at some energy and environmental facts:

    1) Gasoline-powered internal combustion engines are incredibly inefficient. They only convert 25% of energy into movement. We would be far better off burning oil in our power plants and using this to power electric engines. However, this also doesn’t have much future.
    2) Continuing to burn oil in large quantities will destroy our climate. Fracking to produce oil and nat gas will destroy our groundwater.  Burning oil of any kind creates air pollution that causes lung cancer and asthma.
    3) Even if burning oil did no environmental or health damage, we have already burned so much so fast that the cheap stuff is all gone. The rest takes more money to extract, and, what’s worse, more and more energy. The incredible hype you read about the US set to be the next Saudi Arabia is wildly distorted, an attempt to keep fossil fuel profits rolling in. What is conflated into “oil” numbers these days are ethanol (takes as much energy to make as you get out of it), natural gas plant liquids (you can’t use these in gasoline), refinery gains (no net energy gain because takes as much natural gas input as you get energy out), shale oil and unconventional oil (takes lots of energy to extract and refine.)  (See: http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-future-for-petroleum.html )
    Even though oil production figures appear to be climbing slightly, in terms of real net energy, world oil production is already falling. In addition, China and India’s oil consumption is increasing, as is the internal oil consumption of most oiI-producing countries. This leaves less and less oil on the world market for importing countries (like the US–we import 42% of our oil) to buy. If it weren’t for the fact that Europe is dropping its oil consumption due to severe economic problems, the US would already be in deep trouble.  (See:  http://karenlynnallen.blogspot.com/2012/10/per-capita-oil-consumption-is-dropping.html)
    4) So what about electric cars? Couldn’t our driverless future be electric? The problem is that 44% of electricity in the US is still produced by coal.  This both a health and environmental disaster. Worse, it is a climate change disaster of such proportions we really should be worrying about nothing else. We should be shutting down our coal plants, replacing them half by natural gas powered plants and half by power usage reduction (mostly by eliminating the incredible waste, like air conditioning stores so cold it causes people to shiver.) Once we get rid of the coal and build our wind and solar capacity, then we can think about electric private cars, but quite honestly we have no business doing this in the next ten years. If we converted our entire existing auto fleet to electric right now we would at least double electricity consumption which, as things stand, means we would double coal burning, poisoning our air and absolutely dooming our children’s future.
    5) Less net energy available in the future means those Americans not directly involved in agriculture will absolutely have to live more densely. This means both living in less square footage of housing and in more people per square mile. Distant, spread out suburbs are going to disappear. As is plain to the naked eye, when space is limited, private vehicles are incredible hogs of square footage. As cities grow more dense, there is simply not room for them.  Even if enough underground space was made available to park them out of sight, there would not be room on the streets for them to drive around. Walking, biking and transit are far, far more efficient forms of transportation in limited public space. (Even better when you can put the transit underground.)

  • Harold

    “However, that reality already exists. Its called a bus. When its below ground its called a train. An added bonus, you don’t even need to find parking for it. Why is this news to people? Mass Transit is here and its real. And if we seriously commit to it, we can make it way more useful than any driverless vehicle ever will be.”

    Buses don’t go “door-to-door” (you might have to—*gasp*—walk up to 1/4 mile from the stop to your destination), and aren’t personal sequestration pods in the same way that a car is. Half of the reason public transit is so unsuccessful in America is an exaggerated fear of “stranger danger”. We *could* commit to mass transit, which you pointed out is already here, if auto culture weren’t already so strong here…I suspect we’d rather blow trillions developing driverless cars than spending a few hundred billion on bringing mass transit up to speed with the rest of the world.

    Let’s hope they never do get popularized, they’d be the end of any mainstream opposition to suburban sprawl and would make any attempt to make America more walkable/bikeable untenable (at least, until petroleum becomes too expensive to use as motor fuel).

  • Joe R.

    Driverless or not, passenger automobiles in dense areas create a whole host of problems. For that reason alone it makes sense to limit them, or even ban them entirely, from urban areas, not make them driverless. We need a future with fewer automobiles, not one with the same or more driverless automobiles.

    That said, the idea of making 100% of the relatively few motor vehicles on the road driverless (and electrically-powered) makes worlds of sense. You can get rid of the licensing and traffic enforcement bureaucracies in one fell swoop by doing that. You can also create a safer, more pleasant environment for vulnerable users. Driverless cars which automatically yield to pedestrians and cyclists obviate the need for traffic signals or other traffic controls at intersections, for example. And driverless cars will always adhere to the speed limit.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, even if it seems to make sense that the relatively few cars that do exist are driverless, the point is that it is the least bang-for-your buck way of improving transit. Driverless cars are nothing but a showcase for technology. If you didn’t have any bias towards using technology to try and solve everything and looked at all our transportation problems and looked at a finite budget and didn’t externalize the true cost of cars, there is no way it would ever make any sense to be spending all this money and public policy effort on the technology rather than just working on getting people out of their cars. Driverless cars are a distraction from the real issues at hand and just epitomize a culture that worships at the altar of technology even when most of our problems don’t need more technology to fix but better policy and behavior changes.

  • Joe R.

    I agree about getting people out of their cars. My point though is we’ll still need motor vehicles for deliveries, emergencies, and public transit. All of those could and should be made driverless.

  • Andrew

    Driverless cars which automatically yield to pedestrians? HA!

  • Davistrain

    “personal sequestration pods”–there’s a term I haven’t seen before, but it points up the appeal of the private motor vehicle.  The car owner can listen to whatever music or radio program he or she likes, smoke like a chimney if so inclined, schlep large quantities of personal goods and building supplies and always have a comfortable seat.  There are never any worries about dealing with people who really belong in the “State Home for the Bewilderded” (as Tom Lehrer called it), having correct change or missing the last bus of the night.  The private car can be seen as the realization of Huey Long’s slogan, “Every Man a King”, even if owners have to be their own coachmen.  I would challenge all but the most fervent bike and transit enthusiasts: If you won the Ultra-Mega-Bushel-of-Cash lottery, would you resist the temptation to have a chauffeured limo at your beck and call?

  • thielges

    Entertainingly relevant, pedestrian camouflage for robot vehicles: http://media.laweekly.com/8447112.0.jpg

  • stairbob

    Uh, no, it just drives to where there are fewer rich people and it parks itself.

  • Station44025

    Hi Karen! I know you always get the big picture.

    Establish Fee and dividend carbon pricing, let the market sort it out: density, multi modal transport, zoning changes that allow live/work, energy efficiency, bike lanes, local food production, local on-demand manufacturing etc. all follow. Our built physical world is a reflection of the economic parameters placed upon it, and as long as we keep subsidizing carbon extraction and burning, that is what will keep happening. I think our best shot is to hold the absolutist right wing ideologues to their word and get them behind ending all public support for fossil fuels industries, highway projects, and corporate welfare.

  • Station44025

    My problem with most discussions of technology is that both proponents and detractors tend to imagine the technology in the context of the current world, not how the world will be changed by the technology. I think that it it likely that driverless vehicles will also decrease private ownership. Mic you can summon a zipcar when you’re ready to go somewhere, why bother parking and maintaining it? Just pay a membership, like bikeshare. Unlike taxis, they wouldn’t need to just circle endlessly, searching for fares because they have no better method than random chance. The costs of carbon based transport are going to go up, so I suspect the only technologies that will thrive will be those that reduce the cost, so driverless cars will have to contribute to succeed. Why do they have to be a whole huge vehicle? Maybe you could your groceries delivered by a very small vehicle that normally lives in the grocery store.

  • Station44025

    Who would have imagined the world of autocorrect where computers make you sound like a jabbering idiot just ten years ago? (for example)

  • Anonymous

     Most of the reason public transit is of limited use to most people is the way we’ve designed our physical environment in response to the car.  Most suburban/exurban housing developments don’t have through streets that would be workable for bus routes.  Rather, they are giant multi-branched cul-de-sacs with a single entrance onto a main road that could accommodate buses. 

    In my specific case, I’d have to walk over a mile to get to the main road where the bus would go, in a best-case scenario.  (Now maybe if someone installed a bike rack at the entrance to the neighborhood…)

    Driverless cars are really the best thing that’ll work with much of our existing geography.

  • Anonymous

    While I disagree with the notion that driverless cars will render transit obsolete, it’s pretty easy to envision an evolutionary process that results in a world where people own fewer cars, and where the cars themselves are much smaller and consequently use less energy and add fewer greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

    1. Driverless cars become legal, with someone sitting at the wheel in case of emergency.
    2. Accident rates of driverless cars are demonstrably much lower than those of person-driven cars. As more people use driverless cars, anecdotal evidence that the human ‘driver’ is unnecessary gets overwhelming.
    3. It becomes legal for driverless cars to make trips on their own.
    4. Other than at rush hour, you can order up a driverless car to show up at your door and take you where you want to go, pretty much anytime.
    5. People realize they only need to own the cars they use several times a week – no need to keep a second or third car because you have only occasional need of one.
    6. As driverless cars become the norm and accident rates plummet, the connection between size and safety goes away.
    7. Zipcar-type companies have increasingly small cars as an increasingly large part of their mix. 
    8. Car makers, responding to demand, start building one-person cars, since most of the zipcar-type companies’ demand is for one-person trips, and an increasing share of their demand is for zero-person trips: have a car swing by the grocery store to pick up your order, deliver it to your door, then back to the rental lot or to the next customer.
    9. As one-person cars become the norm, major highways keep one ‘normal-width’ lane, and re-line the rest of the lanes to have more, smaller lanes that can accommodate more vehicles in the same space, easing rush-hour congestion.
    10. Since these cars can park themselves (and many more of them can fit into conventional parking spaces), the need for downtown parking diminishes.  Cities become increasingly walkable, and more desirable to live in as a result.  Fewer new exurbs are created, and more housing in or near the urban core – where mass transit is at its most effective – is created.

    You can keep on going from there, but that’s enough for now.  I was born in the mid-1950s, and I fully expect I will live to see all of these steps realized.  And as someone who came to parenthood on the late side, I’m looking forward to driverless cars being commercially available and street-legal throughout the U.S. by the time my five year old son is old enough to drive.

  • Joe R.

    I mostly agree with this chain of events. Somewhere between 3 and 4 you will most likely see “It becomes illegal to operate a human-controlled motor vehicle on public streets”. Driverless cars can only reach their full potential once they don’t need to deal with human-driven vehicles. I’m sure not long after the statistics showing accident rates for driverless cars to be much lower come out, there will be a push to ban humans from behind the wheel. There will predictably be protests from the minority who ostensibly loves to drive, but by and large I suspect such a ban will pass rather easily because driving is a chore for most people. Given today’s levels of traffic congestio,n it’s usually a chore even for those who enjoy driving. In addition, with municipalities perpetually short on money, they’ll be able to eliminate the licensing, insurance, enforcement, and road emergency vehicle bureaucracies in one fell swoop.

    I was born in 1962 and I feel all you mentioned will easily happen within my lifetime. New technology often takes on a life of its own, changing society in ways nobody could have imagined (ironically, that’s what the automobile did). Besides driverless cars, we may well travel a lot less in the future. Telepresence via the Internet could make going to work or school largely obsolete. You could then repurpose those unused schools and office buildings into much needed, highly in demand, housing for urban areas.

  • PC

    The driverless-car fantasy (or rather, the fact that a number of people who should know better take it seriously) has been like a shot of heroin and B12 to the remaining defenders of the “build highway sprawl forever” model of human settlement. I promise you, they’re not going to shut up about it–it’s about all they’ve got anymore.

    So the argument, such as it is, will have to be engaged with, over and over and over….

  • JasonS

    Lowtechcyclist,
    No, the environment must be remade to accommodate transit, not the other way around. Promotion of self driving cars will only lead to the perpetuation of the low-density sprawl model which will do nothing to decrease auto-dependency, reduce single-occupancy vehicle use, or make our communities more walkable.

  •  

    Driverless Car Design Example: Doctorate/Masters in Unmanned
    Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering

  • Scott

    The technology exists, and is getting better every day. I remember the internet skeptics in the nineties, it feels the same. we have a pretty durable driverless car on Mars right now. The algorithms are improving everyday as big auto companies invest in the tech and the google car drives and increases the data available to it as it drives. The economic efficiencies are to profound not to do this(major impacts on housing costs, retail costs, logistics, freeing up land for other purposes in cities, living further from city centers, freeing up much of the land where existing parking currently sits, opening up garages and driveways for other uses, freeing parents from chaffeuring children or the elderly or disabled, ending traffic, allowing work or leisure in vehicule during commute, freight logistics, delivery of groceries and household goods directly to the home by public vehicles during off peak hours, safety in terms of being dropped off directly in front of your door in a bad neighborhood or dangerous time of day) and as with cruise control, they can be integrated wtih current systems without major issue. Mobility advocates such as non-drivers, the eldery and the disabled as well as those who advocate againstr drunk drivers and interest groups like the alchohol and bar industry and other entertainment industries push for this as well of course industries interested in limiting what is one of the leading causes of death (auto accidents, which cause more deaths each year than gun violence). As for private vs public the answer of course will be both! Why not, public and private, bus like, van like, car like motor home like autonomous vehicles will all exist and fill niches.

  • Scott

    Also, if vehicles were all self driving, we could cover the existing urban streets with parkland! There would be no issues with lack of light since driving will be autonomous and since they will likely all be electric in-city we wont have to worry about emissions, we can cover the streets….. The streets will become like tunnels as we build over them, and if we get the regulation right, what we should be building over them, is parks! Imagine walking around in a city where all what were once streets were now hills covered with grass with no traffic noise and no emissions. We covered sewers, we dont build elevated trains anymore, we buried the trains(subways), eventually we will also put the rest of the traffic underground. Steel half dome structure covered with bushes and sod built over the streets(not very expensive when you analyze it) will fundamentally change urban streets creating a garden environment in cities and as a side effect more community and walkability as people wont have to face noisy smelly loud dangerous vehicules, they will all be underground. The main negative side effect, lots of hills in the cities as the half domes will look like long furrowed hills!

  • Karl

    Addressing evolution. Nonviolent, but War, definitely, especially now, is on with the threat, let’s be precise not just clear, not additional shared infrastructure but rather private robots being embraced by GM in there nightmare vision of making them smaller like we think we like and huge robots to store them for us as if we like returning to the spot we parked to TAM it further- yes I’ve created a better word from the robots, it stands for Totally Automated Mobility I think. The automoble (or AM) brought the engine into the ‘pod’ but also it brought the driver in as well- which we can now fix. So NUMBER ONE:

    THE DRIVER DOESN’T ride unless it’s a robot! Till then redundant communications will allow intelligent allocation of manpower to vehicular guidance systems! Some rational ratio- fifty drivers per thousand vehicles or more say, makes sense, but one thousand, with never more then one driving each vehicle?NEVER MORE THEN ONE DRIVER? That’s a mutation that’s extincting us russian roulette at least style, being only a matter of time before the special one that saves us is murdered because fundamentalists have this fetish of either a hay eating horse, or the passenger gets to drive. Every year another shotgun blast, another THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE DONE IN to our doom, largely because we did not start driving cars remotely a long time ago now. Years! Even Googe according to Popular Science (10/2013) has the premise being the human backup is on board. A laser aimed at someone’s face makes drive by clear glass windshield the most reckless system imaginable. If you care about paranoid objections then require redundant closed circuit systems that block not just bullets and bugs but all forms of radiation and gas. Wireless- both ‘light’ and radio at least are reliable and robust enough for most places we care about. Some TAMS might not be legal for us by unlicensed people in some dirt road rural areas perhaps, initially.

    LARGER IS BETTER REGARDLESS OF CARGO OR PASSENGER COUNT! this can be #2 sure. As long as roads are free, we need to hog them as much as possible with awesome TAMS.

    SHARING ENABLES COST NO OBJECT DESIGNS BEYOND DEMENTED TUNNELLING TO WASTE ALL THE TRANSIT FUNDS TO KEEP CARS AS WE KNOW THEM AN UNTREATED CANCER. Cost matters. TAM’s free solutions that are expensive, like 45 foot long single passenger net megawatt a day grid DONATING mobility systems or as the law allows at least.

    Making new cars small, to enable more too large old cars toremain in the roads is irrational.

    AT THE VERY LEAST SHARED CLEAN AS POSSIBLE GIVEN AT OR NEAR CHEAP DISPOSABLE AWFUL CAR DESIGNS SHOULD BE AS LONG AS ANY OTHER SIMILAR OR WORSE USED PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE!

    3RD we must recognise that dispatching systems, like roads, must be public, it must be utility that is, fully optomised in the public interest. I am setting up a website to lead this effort. Remote drivign systems I don’t see the same need for monopoly control over at all- anyone disagree on this nuanced point?

    Additionally the comment that cars will move on the road to avoid paying for parking is absolutely correct. REMEMBER THIS IS TOTAL NONVIOLENT WAR! The more scarce road is the more rationality will prevail in who and how it gets used. Besides the roof is likely to be PV and will need to find sunny roads to capture sun if it’s not in use. Most of the time though TAM’s will be used, certainly during any time that roads are scarce, they will not need to park. At night they must circulate to advertize and the cost of them remaining in motion is sadly, or not, a bargain, even if only one person as week who has not heard about them sees them after just one year.

    However during off peak times all but one lane will be safe to either stop or slow down to a crawl for. Parking garages are only to store cars that don’t fit on the road for when those who can be using them are not. Shared cars don’t have that problem. The road is free. IT is for storing shared cars and what is evil is charging more to unshare (garage) a car per hour anywhere then to free it up for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Finallly some think we need to slash 80 percent within ashort number of years. Shared smart driven (horse DRIVEN carriage’s once prevailed, not ‘drawn!!!’) mobility in it’s initial iteration, it’s first few million, or however many times as many other then combustion car’s etc. ever made so far, need not have that. Sharing allows a TAM to earn it’s cost very quickly even ignoring halo etc. early entry aspects, but if cost matters, and for the first, the very first one’s, the first city replacements full or whatever if that approach is taken, as it should be ifjust one rich good person cuts a personal check, can use novel low cost power systems like and especially not just didactically pure c02 mechanical and for some support systems exergy thermal/electronic. You fill up the tank, or it does, with dry ice pellets, and it DOES NOT CAPTURE THE GAS AS THEY EVAPORATE TO POWER THE SYSTEM! Cost engineering matters, and renewable forms of energy can be stored by disposing of otherwise smoke stack emissions out our tailpipe after first using it as a medium to make the mechanical energy portable. Of the shelf c02 to pellets equipment is being manufactured for pressure spraying, for ironically hygiene/cleaning in Denmark. These pellets need only thermal insulation to be portable in large quantities without structural strenght that compression imposes. Remember- the heat that gets in is catalytic to phase change that idling speeds can consume. Further the system IQ estimates well and redistributes pellets trivially in real time throughout the day so very little are made in surplus on a daily basis.

    I’ve shared facts- do you understand what they mean? Electric cars are not just if nto shared our most dirty, despicable option, they are away of preventing TAM’s from existing! Slow charging and limited range are what if not imposed threatens overproduction of our real enemy, all unshared cars. Even coal, for long haul trucking, of cars, lol, is better, then almost anything else. WE have to free up the wasted capital or we will all die without enough of us escaping the planet in time. Clean Coal grid scale insures we will have enough CO2 to dump in the inner city out our tail pipes to affordable replace all our cars quickly with far few disposable TAM’s.

    Or bittch and see hte GM animation come to fruition. I fight to win. I expect to be killed soon so hope to share enough of what I’ve learned for those not yet killed to add to it, until enough of us survive to enjoy the victory in time. Only then will any of us have the right to not gamble recklessly with our lives by sharing our thinking on this subject as widely as possible. I hope this comment get’s read by at least one person, as it’s the sort that will get me killed and that is no crazy notion I assure you. We are goingto cost certain corporations not just trillions, but there very existence- and as William Clinton notes, resistance, certainly lethal for many of us, is assured. Nonviolent people must get over this notion it’s especially heroic to lose our lives fighting for what’s right, it’s mundane- not easy, but mundanely heroic, garden variety. Please join me in putting a target on your head and chime in- saftey eventually in numbers- risking your life might save not just all of ours someday but my life in my lifetime for sure. Please help.

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How the Self-Driving Car Could Spell the End of Parking Craters

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Here’s the rosy scenario of a future where cars drive themselves: Instead of owning cars, people will summon autonomous vehicles, hop in, and head to their destination. With fewer cars to be stored, parking lots and garages will give way to development, eventually bringing down the cost of housing in tight markets through increased supply. […]

Elon Musk’s “Master Plan” Won’t Work for Cities

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Earlier this week tech entrepreneur Elon Musk released his updated “master plan” for Tesla, including some thoughts on how autonomous mini-buses will supplant today’s transit and “take people all the way to their destination.” Like every Musk pronouncement, this one got a lot of buzz — but it also drew some healthy skepticism. One reason to doubt Musk’s plan […]

Florida Republican: Vote Down Transit Because Driverless Cars Are Coming

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St. Petersburg doesn’t need better transit, according to local Republican state legislator Jeff Brandes, because self driving cars are going to make transit irrelevant. That’s why Brandes is fighting a ballot issue to be decided today in Pinellas County that would expand bus service 65 percent, he told Fortune. It’s a tactic that transit opponents have been using for decades […]

Tesla’s Vision for the Future of Autonomous Cars Should Scare Us

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What impact will self-driving cars have on cities? The range of potential outcomes is enormous. In the best-case scenario, private car ownership gives way to shared fleets of autonomous cars, freeing up vast amounts of land that used to be devoted to vehicle storage. Then there’s the scenario promoted by Tesla, in which everyone owns their personal autonomous […]