Something meaningful about driverless, for a change
This is refreshing, really.
I have written a lot about the depressing hype and waste of effort around driverless cars. This time I am happy to point readers to something that is actually interesting, and productive. It is an argument I just read, about the “Twilight Zone self-driving development can’t seem to get out of” (but also applies to electric vehicles). Here’s the argument:
- If people have already wasted billions trying to make self-driving work, it is also because they overlooked the obvious fact that vehicle size, footprint and shape matter a lot
- (successful) New technology tends to reformat products
- This is exactly what happened with personal communication. It succeeded also because it went from “bulky, cumbersome and fixed [devices…] to sleek smartphones”
- Personal mobility should do the same, that is optimize for driverless movement, where it is actually possible of course, the very shape of cars
- Driverless, that is, cannot “become real [without] deploying sleek-footprint vehicles”
- (instead) there still is a “huge void between the car that has grown obese (SUV trend) and micro-mobility”
Less corners = more chances to go driverless, some day
Quoting from this picture (see the article for bigger version and links):
- Round-off and sloping contours reduce/eliminate fragmented scanning and imaging: no blind spots, which is unavoidable with more boxy vehicles
- Instead of putting autonomous tech in conventional cars, as add-ons, reformat the vehicle first
THIS is what I find refreshing. Driverless versions of today’s “private cars for the masses” remain a pipe dream, of course. But shared driverless cars, which may do a lot of good, could become real only if done from scratch, not by retrofitting old stuff, and old business models.