December 12, 2015
Cheap LIDAR coming for driverless cars
Silicon Valley startup Quanergy and Delphi Systems are going to sell a LIDAR sensor system for autonomous vehicles for less than $1k. Game changer.
We will see fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the 2020s. Car accident rates and death rates will plummet along with insurance premiums and taxi ride fares. People will travel more because it will become easier and less stressful. We will also see the rise of (cheaper) delivery services where you have to come out to the (driverless) vehicle to retrieve your goods.
Will people commute greater distances when they no longer have to drive? Or will they live in cities more once car ownership becomes less necessary and taxi rides become much cheaper? Maybe both. Maybe some will move to cities while others commute to work from rural areas to suburban office parks.
Autonomous vehicles will probably shift mass transit toward smaller buses and vans. Why use big buses when you no longer have to pay for a driver for each bus? Run smaller electric vehicles along dynamically chosen routes and let Uber or Lyft coordinate pickups.
Randall Parker, 2015 December 12 11:44 AM
"People will travel more because it will become easier and less stressful."
Yeah, but not for long as there will be less people with jobs to afford travel.
I see driverless cars as freeways 2.0. People will flock to bigger houses outside cities, especially those of us with children.
This might also affect the airlines.
I have family that live 800 miles away. The total airline time door to door, including commutes to and from airports and switching flights at hubs, is about 8 to 9 hours. The actual driving time door to door is about 14 1/2 hours, which is best done over two days. The round trip airline cost is $500 per person, plus luggage fees plus parking. The total cost for driving is $200 for a room for two plus meals and gas (about 30 gallons, or $90 each way). So total driving cost is half the flying cost. If you drive, you have the freedom of your own vehicle, and you can ditch the family when they become tiresome. If you fly, you probably rely on your distant family for car travel, and they own you.
The various hassles accompanying airline travel make driving a viable option. The chief obstacle to driving is the fatigue factor. An automated car that allowed the passengers to relax, read, sleep would be my choice.
"(cheaper) delivery services where you have to come out" - come out, as from home, or from workplace? Or, since travel is easier, and working is less tied to place, perhaps where you are is more flexible rather than less, and delivery services can coordinate (Uber-like) with where you happen to be at the moment .. or where you plan to be in the near future.
The delivery service is where drones will shine. Van pulls up, launches drone with package to front door, drops package. Same service as now, just no driver. Multiple drones from a package vehicle could service a neighborhood quickly.
Other services like garbage/recycling collection, lawn mowing, etc. would be automated as well.
The big challenge is to generate jobs for all those unskilled drivers. We need governments to prioritise jobs in the private non government sector and this means reducing taxes on business and freeing up the labour market. Also unfortunately if you think a green jobs miracle will fill the void you are in lala land. Increasing electricity costs will only drive more jobs to Asia compounding the problem. If unemployment now is a problem wait until the green revolution is in full swing combined with game changing technologies. A perfect storm which all western countries will face. The future for those in the lower end of the labour market is grim. But dont worry the government will look after you.
"I have family that live 800 miles away. The total airline time door to door, including commutes to and from airports and switching flights at hubs, is about 8 to 9 hours."
I see a real niche in the 200-600 mile range for autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft holding maybe 30-60 passengers. Any large parking lot (e.g. at a mall) could become an "airport". There's no need even for a terminal, as people can move straight from the aircraft to personal transport.
"Other services like garbage/recycling collection, lawn mowing, etc. would be automated as well."
Yes, that will really cut into lawnmower sales, as a single lawnmower will do all the houses in a neighborhood.