Thursday, March 9, 2017

Driverless cars are a waste of time

Point #1 is that it may be comparatively simple to automate driving down a straight road with no oncoming traffic, pedestrians, or any other sort of confusion. That is one extreme. The other is all the un-expect-able events that an adult human has learned to handle specifically as well as in general. Sure you can write programs to do any one of those things but we are not much closer to creating that sort of artificial intelligence than we were before the advent of the computer. So Point#1 is that driver-less cars are much further from reality than the AI clowns can admit.

Point #2 is that cars are a stupid way to move large number of people anyway, and trying to automate a dumb solution is an even dumber solution. What works for public transit is buses and trains. Point#2 is: we should figure out how to merge the best of the train/bus concept and the best of the car concept with these goals: minimum commute times [I assume this is about commuting not road trips], minimum adult supervision. Maximum freedom to use the system or not.

Proposal: Suppose cars and highways had built in "networked" functionality and suppose you drive up to the 2nd from fastest lane. You push a button and it tells the networked system to please take over and move you into the fast lane. It does and for a while your car is part of a train and you can doze/read/or watchTV. When you want to exit the fast lane, you push a button and the system returns you to the non-automated lane. After which you control the vehicle.
In a crowded city, you would request to leave your parking space, once on the city road "grid" everything is managed as a single network application. You ask to park when you get to your destination. [Ignoring the obvious problem that there may be no place to park. But of course the network already knows about that.] Traffic lights are coordinated with the system and optimized as much as possible. Here "opting out" of system is more problematic.

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