Yesterday I talked a little about Google’s self-driving car and some of the ramifications it will have on our society, but I feel that I only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Just as a brief, Google’s self-driving car is exactly what it’s called. A self-driving car. Google has announced that it has absolutely no plans to build a car. What Google wants to do is sell the software to various manufacturers so they can build the car. This is a smart move because they open themselves up to multiple buyers from around the globe while not directly threatening any established motor company.
While the car has been making news everywhere, I honestly think that many don’t realize the ramifications of this technological breakthrough. This will be looked back as a watershed moment.
Let’s look at the time when cars came on the market and the changes they brought.
- Cars freed people from having to use high maintenance horses for travel and work.
- Cars reduced the amount of horse detritus in the roads.
- Cars allowed people to go from city to city easier than in a horse carriage.
- Cars literally gave the frame work for pickups and larger trucks.
- The trucks allowed for longer local travel of heavy goods, such as bricks and iron beams.
- Cars and trucks put the traveling salesman out of business.
- Cars reduced the need for ferries and horse veterinarians.
- Cars created a need for paved roads and an interconnecting highway system.
- Cars made it easier to move to a new city or state when job opportunities dropped where a person resided.
- Trucks cut into the long haul market dominated by trains and killed the short track train market.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Cars changed the world in ways unthought-of when they first came out.
Google’s self-drive technology will do the same thing.
I already talked about how this technology will render speed traps obsolete. But let’s go further on this point.
Right now a couple is trying to sue a girl that texted her boyfriend while he was driving home. The guy was either reading the text or texting back when he hit the couple as they rode their motorcycles. Both riders lost a leg from the accident. They state that the girl knew that her boyfriend was driving and texted him anyway. The couple argues that this makes her the distraction that caused the boyfriend to crash into them. By having the car drive itself, you take away this danger. It will also stop the hazards of drunk driving. The downside is that it could also take away the responsibility of paying attention and being sober.
The self-driving car can help by letting kids visit their grandparents. With the car holding the license, the kids just hop in and say, “Take me to grandmas.” Off they go. There is a big benefit for parents as well. In theory they will never have to endure the long procession of the school pick-up line again. Just send the car to get the kids. Of course you are going to have to do something so the kid realizes which car he or she is supposed to jump into. I also see a lot of panicked parents when the car comes home empty because the kid went to his friend’s house instead.
The self-driving car will also act as an ambulance for that single person whatever their age that has to go to the hospital but doesn’t want or can’t afford the real thing.
On the other side, self-driving vehicles is that there will be a loss of transportation based jobs.
- Taxis – no longer will you have a person drive you. The car will do it.
- Greyhound bus drivers will be replaced as well
- Long haul trucks will also be self-driving and they won’t be limited on the hours they can travel.
- Distribution to store trucks will also be driverless.
- Body shops will be in less demand.
These are just the ideas that I can come up with now. I’m sure you can come up with others.
The self-driving car will bring with it many good things as well as bad. It is truly a game changer. Welcome to the future.