Cycling in Sydney Australia
Was just watching a TED presentation on future tech and the presenter spoke of what the next big Technology would be - Automated vehicles.
It got me thinking about what this means for the humble treadly rider, and yes before you say it George Orwell didn't quite get 1984 spot on in his proediction"
BUTponder this, all this screaming and wailing for seperate bike paths, share the road, a meter matters, will be redundant!
Google cars already have a better driving record and obey traffic rules, is fully automated and hasn't hit a cyclist yet!!!
Automated collision protection is becoming standard along with park assist etc. It wont be long til we don't need seperated cycleways, as the cars will not be operated by "low skilled" people, buzzing us, beeping and swearing. they won't even have indicators as the cars on the road will be bluetooth connected around and will know what the vehicle is doing and where its going
So now they ( te occupants) can text and talk all they want with nothing but the opportunity to throw missiles out the window at cyclist for entertainment when their phone battery is dead :-)
The last thing I heard about the average vehicle fleet age, it was around 12ish. So with all of the outliers, unless the government decrees manual vehicle operation illegal, it would take probably at least 30 years before most of the fleet is scrapped. However, on the bike side, we already have e-bikes, so that will extend the age that we'll be able to continue riding Only need to add the Google navigation system and we're there! Old farts rule! :-)
Mass motordom relies on society having a relaxed attitude to mass non-compliance with the road rules. Humans simply can't comply with all the road rules all the time. We let it slide.
But due to legal issues, robot cars will be required to strictly comply with all road rules all the time. Which means that they'll happily drive behind a 15km/h cyclist in the middle of the lane. But that won't restrict them too much cos they'll all be going slow enough to stop for the child that runs out on to the road from behind a parked car to fetch their ball.
Freeways will be a different thing, but on city roads where there's people around, robot cars may be bogged down to the point of uselessness, moreso as their numbers increase.
Also, if a robot car realises that a crash is avoidable, but still has enough control to influence what they crash into, what should they decide? Should they protect their occupants first and foremost, or should they aim to impose the least death and disability for everyone around? If such a choice is available, should the robot car prefer to kill/injure an older person or a younger person? Given a choice between crashing into a truck or a cyclist, should it sacrifice its occupants (and save the cyclist) by choosing the truck? What if it was a bunch of cyclists? What if it was a school bus instead of a truck?
Robot cars will gather enough info to make these decisions, so the software developers are surely having to answer these questions now.
ugh, and car chippers will change settings to remove the moral compass
Automated cars will probably be largely banned when it becomes clear the owners just set them lapping the city when there is no parking, and when the owners buy one for each of their children and then let each child take their own car to school, that subsequently drives itself home again and then each house owner takes great pains to try and possess the kerb outside their house, making parking anywhere impossible and requiring each suburb to have for each 3 bedroom house, 5 car storage locations.
That's one possible outcome. Another is that ownership of a robot car will be less desirable if there's an abundance of empty robot cars cruising the streets. Some form of hybrid of Goget, Uber and taxis might arise.
No need to park your robot car if you can let it cruise the street on its own picking up paying passengers.
Damn, you stole my business model, Colin.
I think the arrival of fully automated cars is unstoppable. What concerns me is that governments are too stupid to know how to regulate them. Regulated properly, they would be fantastic. If they are left to "the open market" they will be a disaster of enormous proportion. Given the current level of pro activity from global governments, I fear the latter.
Having said that, if there was a safe, street legal fully automated car available on the market, I'd probably sell my current car and buy one. I don't think it would change my families riding and pubic transport habits. I don't think I'm typical though.
I hope it all works because:
It couldn't get any worse really.
Just for local context, in aust
21 cyclists have been killed so far this year, 16 of which were from collisions with motor vehicles
This is out of a total of 376 deaths on our roads so far.
I had pondered the issue of late model vehicles and the aging fleet.
Current google car tech means it can cope without any issue in a non automated fleet. Bluetooth and proximity sensors for park assist and collision mean the car would know the vehicles are NON automated and change to the conditions.
Yes road rules could be an issue, but not in the way you suggest. our GPS navigation already has the capability to link to traffic flow and speed, redirect and change course when the conditions apply, along with that connectivity that tells each car in range of any conditions, eg potholes, speedbumps, drunks asleep on the road......ok it might not know its a drunk but would register a new speed bump....
The change obstructiin would be more in the "I don't want to", or "no one can driver better than me" group, which would resist anything so make it cost!
There is the option of tailored insurance making a financial limiter on the uptake - in the same way YOUI etc do now.
Green slip is decreased if you run auto and increased if you don't, cant or won't for the people who never let go of the vintage SS ute.
As for some other conditions, yes send the kids in the car to school, where it waits for a return journey. Fully auto means they won't need a license, and short trips by electric car would be seriously more feasible, cost per model decreases. Car share becomes more viable, although part of their busn model is to have cars in their fleet that are "special like utes and vans for moves"
is it time to save the Australian car industry????