This year, let's talk electric, not driverless


Sometimes, you just need to add your voice to the choir…

This year, let's talk electric, not driverless /img/tesla.jpg

… and then, maybe, add a stanza or two.

On May 8th, 2019, Rodney Brooks shared a prediction on Twitter, and then placed a bet:

“Let’s count how many truly autonomous (no human safety driver) Tesla taxis (public chooses destination & pays) on regular streets (unrestricted human driven cars on the same streets) on December 31, 2020. It will not be a million. My prediction: zero. Count & retweet this then.”

“If there are a million Tesla robo-taxis functioning on the road in 2020…I will eat half of them.”

Yesterday, Brooks kept faith to his promise:

“Promised to retweet [the tweets above today]. On April 22, 2019, Elon said there would be up to 1 million Tesla robotaxis on the road by now. I said zero. And the answer is … zero!”

and then added:

“But not to worry. In July of this year Elon said that Tesla would release full level 5 autonomy by the end of the year. Nope. And then earlier this month he said that full autonomy, for sure, in 2021. I don’t think so.

Joining the choir, and adding to it

I discovered that whole story via D. Galbraith:

“Fully autonomous (level 5) self driving cars were technological mass hysteria. Conversely, the impact of electric vehicles on the modern world has been under hyped, they will change how energy is produced and consumed.”

Me, I am singing with Galbraith’s choir, and strongly suggest you should too. Driverless cars are overhyped, electric cars are underhyped. The only part I would not sing (if this is Galbraith’s position, I don’t know) is the assumption that there is a future for private cars, electric or not, for mass transportation. But let me add some stanzas to that choir. First, the “driverless is overhyperd” stanzas:

then the “driverless is overhyped” stanzas:

Added on Jan. 8th, 2021: And Musk became the richest man in the world (also) selling stories like that…

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