July 7, 2008


The Coming of the Car-Bot: In the near future, autonomous driving will lead to safer roads and great fuel-efficiency (David Kiley, 7/07/08, Business Week)

Imagine the scene: You're driving your car to an office building in New York City, five minutes from a job interview. No worries. You have already dialed into the car's memory the parking garage where it's going to stay, and prepaid the bill. You shut the door. And off it goes. Driverless. And the chances of the car getting into an accident while it travels five or six treacherous city blocks are less than if the hopeful job applicant had tried to park it himself under time pressure.

Does it sound too good to be true? A sign of the end of civilization as we know it? Too far into the future to care? It depends on whom you ask. But some researchers, engineers, and auto companies believe that such automation is not only on the way to becoming commonplace in the next 20 years, but essential to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles from the U.S. to China and everywhere else. Oh, and as the technology necessary to achieve the "autonomous" car arrives in stages every few years—some of it is already here, in options such as electronic stability control and blind-spot detection—it promises to sharply reduce traffic fatalities.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at July 7, 2008 7:59 AM

Sounds like a great alternative to the bus or subway when you commute to work. Turn the autopilot off on the weekends or on vacation. Sign me up!

Posted by: Rick T. at July 7, 2008 8:29 AM

Personally, I'm opposed to automatic transmissions, but that's just me. An autopilot would be a serious improvement on half the drivers out there. Bring it on.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 7, 2008 9:05 AM

Tomorrow is the 170th birthday of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin. Everyone knows zeppelins outrank trains on the Judd Scale of Conveyance Humanity. It goes:
1) Wings of a Snow White Dove
2) Zeppelins
3) Trains
4) Boats
5) Sedan chairs
6) Jaunting like Gully Foyle in The Stars My Destination
6) Cars

Posted by: Bryan at July 7, 2008 9:29 AM

1.) Rocking chair

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2008 10:50 AM


You left out Larry Niven's transporter booths. They did destroy the need for cars, after all.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 7, 2008 11:50 AM

That stuff is so 1950's.

Posted by: Mikey at July 7, 2008 6:59 PM
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