Educating the $7 Trillion Driverless “Brain”

Comments Off on Educating the $7 Trillion Driverless “Brain”
Educating the $7 Trillion Driverless “Brain”

As the Trends editors forecast roughly 20 years ago, autonomous highway vehicles, including automobiles, trucks and specialized delivery systems, are poised to disrupt transportation of people and goods leading to an era dominated by “mobility as a service.”  Small unmanned vehicles will deliver things like pizzas, groceries, and Ikea dressers.  People will watch movies, read books, do work and even have sex in-transit.  Cities will be planned differently, as we’ll need less parking and roads will be less crowded.  Insurance will change as traffic injuries and fatalities decrease by as much as 90%.  Many car-related businesses will disappear.  And, the owner-driver automobile industry we’ve known for over 110 years will change, as most people no longer buy cars at all.

How and when this self-driving technology disrupts transportation depend on the “design” of these technologies and how they are perceived by consumers.  To understand why, consider the history of personal computers and smartphones.  Neither became must-have consumer products until they adopted the graphical user interface pioneered by the Macintosh and iPhone, respectively.  Similarly, self-driving cars have to leverage design to make autonomous driving approachable.  In fact, the “brains” within the driverless car will need to make passengers as comfortable and confident as they are when climbing into an Uber or Lyft.

Most car manufacturers are already offering semi-autonomous driving aids, like auto-braking or auto-steering which can keep you in a lane, as safety features.  At the same time, they’ve been slowly figuring out the best way for the driver to hand over control to the car and then take it back

Consider Tesla’s “Autopilot.  Today’s Autopilot can really only handle parking and highway driving, and it requires you to always keep a hand on the wheel, otherwise it beeps an alarm, forcing you to take over.  And even with this, Tesla’s Autopilot has so far been involved in three driver fatalities.  For the time being, this “Level 3 product” makes a lot of sense for Tesla, since its business model is to sell cars.

Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft have both been investing considerably in their own top-secret driving programs intended to sell a service

In early 2019, Lyft employed 300 engineers and was working to double that number, with $200 million in new investments from self-driving technology partner Magna.  It also runs the booking platform for Aptiv, which has 30 vehicles circling the Las Vegas Strip offering autonomous rides between the hotels and major attractions...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund