Lots of people envisioned less cars because the with self driven cars the current use of cars can be covered by less cars but self driven cars enable more uses. Send your kids to their friends. Grandma goes shopping. Need to borrow a drill pop it in car. Want to run a local cake store. Deliver the cakes in the cars. Right now in my city there are billboard trucks that drive around. I can imagine 10x more of them. And of course with no driver and lots of competition prices will come down. Why take public transport when I can be delivered door to door for less.
I enjoy public transport here in Tokyo and I'm happy for the excersize I get walking to and from the station but, for example my office is a 20 minute walk from my apartment. I usually walk it but if it's raining or too hot I've used the Taxi app to have a taxi pick me up and drive me that short distance. The cheaper, easier, and faster (time to pickup) things get the more likely I'll take advantage of that more often.
It could be a huge problem because of competing goals. The spammers won't care about traffic flow as their only goal will be to have cars on the road and visible, whilst people in cars will want to get places in a reasonable time.
Here's some real-world examples:
It's called the gas tax, and it does a good enough job charging people for their negative externalities that everyone seems to hate it.
Fuel taxes almost never tax heavy usage vehicles enough, compared to the amount of damage they do to the road.
A fuel tax also doesn't solve the problem grandparent post is trying to solve, excess usage of 'high value' roads.
If road usage, and road wear and tear, was evenly distributed then a fuel tax would work, but the reality is that is simply a convenient and fairly effective proxy solution. As technology improves a solution similar to grandparent, some form of usage tolling, will become feasible and provide a more effective outcome.
it probably wouldn't be that bad if government could track autonomous semis making deliveries to large shopping centers, but I wouldn't want it to have fine-grained data on who goes where and who delivers to their house.
I think this balances out naturally though in (y)our situation -- there's limited space for taxis near the station, so if a lot of people are taking taxis, the benefit of taking a taxi approaches zero unless the benefit is "sit" rather than "save time."
A good example of this is rainy days or typhoons.
So in the other cases you list, I wonder if it might not be self-balancing there as well -- as the roads get congested, the benefit of popping a drill into a car to send to a friend or whatever will approach zero as the costs rise due to congested roads.
As for congestion, if all the cars are AI maybe they can pack a few X more cars on the streets? Not saying I like that idea
I'm saying that the immediate area around the station gets incredibly congested, so it's difficult to get close to the station in anything that approaches a timely fashion. It prevents "door to door" since it takes longer to get to the station "door" with the congestion than it would have taken to simply walk.
Also: when you drive, you probably schedule a bunch of errands to do on the one trip. Soon, you mightn't bother arranging to avoid this bother. Corollary: Then, why collocate businesses? This could be the beginning of the end of the mall.
Malls started dying a long time ago. Articles like this have been written for years.
This is only true when there is unmet demand. I have a lot of roads to show you in Western Nebraska that won’t get increased traffic no matter how big they get.
The reason why widened roads increases traffic isn't just unmet demand; demand actually increases. The extra capacity means that people can shorten journey times by using the road, and they then locate their homes and businesses at either end or along the road. The road itself increases demand.
> The extra capacity means that people can shorten journey times by using the road, and they then locate their homes and businesses at either end or along the road
Exactly. So if people are shortening their journey times using the road, then whatever previous journey they took no longer exists. The new road did not increase demand, it relocated already-existing previously-poorly-serviced demand to a new more efficient route.
This is generally a good thing, it's what a successful road project is intentionally supposed to do, and why they are worth spending money on.
This is a mendacious misphrasing of what I wrote.
People move. Businesses move. People are born. Businesses are created. There isn't a static amount of demand. People make decisions based on costs; whether they create a business, whether they have children, where they live, where they work. Roads change costs. If you have a clue about economics, you'll know that when costs change demand changes in all elastic markets.
Roads don't simply move demand around. People make more use of roads when they're cheaper to use. In other words, demand increases.
If you don't understand this, please consult an economics primer. Your argument seems to come from the same place as the ignorant people who think immigration lowers wages.
People are willing to pay a certain amount of time to drive on a road. This is your demand curve. Everyone willing to spend any amount of time driving makes up all of your demand.
Your supply curve is the speed the road can provide. Increase the average speed by removing stop lights, decreasing congestion, etc and you capture more of the demand.
The only way a road increases demand is if people move to a location they refused to consider before the existence of the road. However, non of the analysis on induced demand for roads analyzes this (that I’ve seen on the academic side). All of it is mistaking capturing more of the demand curve for increasing demand because the effect is always immediate.
The unmanned delivery vehicles will be followed by a “shadow car,” which will be driven by a human with the ability to stop or control it.
There was a Silicon Valley startup called Starship Technologies which had a little robot vehicle running around downtown Redwood City sidewalks making deliveries. It was always followed by a guy watching it.
The first area to look at was rental car return. When you're done with the rental car, you get out at the terminal, and it drives itself, slowly, back to rental car turn-in. When you order a rental car at the airport, it drives itself slowly to the terminal and picks you up at the curb. Then you drive away manually.
The numbers didn't look good. You're competing with minimum wage labor, and the hardware costs too much. That's still the case. Also, back then, everybody was so paranoid about airport security that getting this past TSA would be really hard.
Second area was shuttle buses. Parking lots, campuses, amusement parks - all slow speed applications. Local Motors and Navya are doing this. Navya had a backup driver on their Las Vegas shuttle bus for the first year or so. Not clear if they finally got rid of them. They have several test installations, but it's not clear that they have trustworthy real autonomy. They have a demo route in Switzerland, but "VBSH has in addition hired and trained three attendants who are always also on board the bus during trips." Their CEO was just fired for underperforming. Local Motors does demos, but still seems to be searching for a serious customer. Baidu has a self-driving bus program, and they've built about a hundred of them. Not clear if they need a "safety driver".
It's rather disappointing that even the slow speed shuttle buses on fixed routes are not yet really autonomous.
What is hard about self driving cars is we want our kids to be able to ride their bikes on the same streets those cars drive on. Limit self driving cars to just hiways with only other self driving cars and we could have had them 15 years ago and there would be near zero accidents. Dealing with human drivers (who might not be sober), kids, wild animals, and the like is hard. (I'm sure those in self driving cars have a much longer list of things things that are hard)
Autonomous cars are hard because children, and wildlife do not have transponders, and worse have a habit of jumping out from cover right into your path. Killing children is obviously bad. Even though who morally would argue that wildlife don't matter still do not like the damage hitting the wildlife causes to the car.
I can see that this is more future-compatible, the "drone" is smaller than a car, so, when you can lose the driver you will be able to shake off the whole shadow vehicle and have less mass overhead.
Edit: also, PR. The pretty pictures of the obviously driverless vehicle are almost inherently misleading.
Anyone can see anything else?
If the vehicle is X meters from the ground, the only allowed direction is (X mod 360) degrees, and the only possible speed is X/10 meter per second. Hence the vehicle moves along helical path until it reaches the only height where the desired speed and direction is allowed. There cannot be any major collisions only some slight grazes.
Ingenious, nicht wahr?
The problem of what is the "ground level" and how passenger jets behave is beyond this brief introduction.
In the US, there's a similar, but much more relaxed, system in use:
If you're more than 3000 feet above the ground, then the altitude above MSL in feet you should be at depends on whether you're flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) or Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and your heading, as follows:
- For VFR with a magnetic heading 0-179: (1+2n) x 1000 + 500 (for integer n)
- For VFR with a magnetic heading 180-359: (2n) x 1000 + 500
- For IFR with a magnetic heading 0-179: (1+2n) x 1000 + 0
- For IFR with a magnetic heading 180-359: (2n) x 1000 + 0
Magnetic heading is trivial to measure, and under the specific rules used to determine MSL altitude, thats also really easy to measure (but might produce a large error relative to the correct answer, but a small error relative to other aircraft).
In addition, below 10,000 ft, the speed limit is generally 250kias or 200kias, depending on how close to the ground and other airports you are.
> There cannot be any major collisions only some slight grazes.
There's not necessarily much difference between those two.
So the idea is that, in a given XY plane, all equilibrium flows are at the same direction and speed. You can never go exactly 26 m/s due north, but you can get close enough. By definition, vehicles in the equilibrium state can't hit other vehicles on the same XY plane, and vehicles in equilibrium at slightly displaced XY planes will only hit others at arbitrarily small angles. So far, so good.
Going up and down is simultaneously handled in the XY plane, because at a given height, a vehicle's direction of travel is tangent to the helix and going along with the flows. Also good.
There needs to be a strict speed limit on vertical speed. A vehicle hitting you from underneath or above at 30 m/s is pretty terrible.
A representative table for the lazy
Height Direction Speed (m/s) Speed (mph freedom units)
0 N 0 0
90 E 9 20.1
180 S 18 40.3
270 W 27 60.4
360 N 36 80.5
The scheme can be trivially modified to deal with this, once you've figured out a way to create a smooth tangent vector field on a 2-sphere.
100% selfish reasoning, but less human drivers makes the road safer for cyclists (assuming robots use their blinkers).
Not trying to get into a bike vs car debate, they're all fine with me... but man some bikers I come across are just flying through intersections / stop signs too. Scares the hell out of me when I'm driving.
It's just that assholes in cars are a lot more dangerous than assholes who are biking or walking.
This is a relevant distinction, since it informs how you handle reducing the danger (e.g. road diets and traffic calming, at least for urban areas).
I've seen cyclists drive the opposite way of the roundabout (at night), not using the lights. Breezing through crossings on red or where they had to yield. Seen them cutting into a traffic despite a broad, elevated, well maintained bike path along the same motorway. Taking pedestrian crossings without unmounting, and on and on.
So sure if the cyclist is not on the motorway the risk of fatality is indeed reduced - but not eliminated, as they still have to cross traffic. Pretending there is no responsibility on cyclists side is not solving anything.
Yes, but it's cars that are generating the danger.
Suggesting otherwise is like saying that if a bulldozer is in a park and runs over some toddlers, the toddlers were the real source of the danger for being so darn vulnerable.
Besides, cyclists themselves are not really any different from pedestrians in this regard. It's just that there are physically protected walk lanes -- aka sidewalks/pavement -- nearly everywhere you go, whereas physically protected bike lanes are a rarity. Imagine if, for walking around, you only had "painted walk lanes" on the road, right next to cars going 40 mph. That's what it's like being on a bike.
> So sure if the cyclist is not on the motorway the risk of fatality is indeed reduced - but not eliminated, as they still have to cross traffic.
That's what protected intersections are for, and they help pedestrians too!
> Pretending there is no responsibility on cyclists side is not solving anything.
Of course, like all road and street users, cyclists ought to be responsible. But the primary problem here is extremely poor infrastructure that is both inherently dangerous and encourages bad behavior (and to a lesser extent, poor enforcement that lets off drivers easy when they seriously injure or kill other people).
On another message board, there was a Dutch dude who moved to California. He said that at first, he was horrified by the behavior of cyclists in his new home. Then two weeks later, "I was one of them". He didn't suddenly become an irresponsible jerk, it's just that in America, the road system encourages, if not outright requires an aggressive attitude from cyclists.
I have personal experience with this since I went the opposite direction, from California to Munich, which is much more bike-friendly than any major city in America. Here, the system is reasonably respectful of cyclists, and so cyclists generally respect the system in turn. There's no need to bike around like an aggressive asshole, because you can get around just fine like a normal person.
Contrast that with the SF bay area, where I got hit by cars twice the last year before I left. One time was with my son on my bike too, and the cop that came out didn't even give the driver a ticket for t-boning me as I crossed the intersection. And keep in mind, the SF bay area is actually a very bike-friendly area by US standards.
But it's easier (in the sense of human effort expended) for a car than a bike to regain its lost momentum, right?
One can’t yell, “We are traffic!”, but then cry about how you want to be excempted from traffic laws you don’t like. I hate red light too, but I stop at them.
A self driving car is the only hope we have of making the situation better.
My hope is that with autonomous vehicles having known reaction times we can actually get rid of fixed speed limits entirely.
An interesting idea out of this: if self-driving vehicles reduce the collision rate, road vehicles can (for some applications) get much lighter. Part of why cars are so big and heavy is safety (along with optionality for cargo and high speeds over mediocre roads). Shedding the steel safety cage could lead to improved fuel economy, which would result in a tremendous reduction in carbon output if scaled.
I'm guessing this would also make the cars safer to crash into, or be crashed into by, given that passenger cars would continue to be heavier and sturdier.
I wonder if it will take legislation to solve.
There are many reasons to adopt a lighter car. Collision safety isn't one of them, but if that was your only concern you'd be insane to have a car at all.
That's why it's a chicken and egg problem. No one wants to be in a less safe car when there are so many accidents (and deaths from them) every year.
I think people talk a lot about safety, but I don't think that is as primary of a concern as everybody says that it is for them. How many people actually go research and learn about all the cars they are shopping, vs people who just go to a dealership and listen to a salesman and buy what's in their price range?
Most people don't even read the damn owners manual, they don't even know what that big yellow light is (TPMS or CEL) that has been on for months. They won't buy winter tires in the winter, even though you can get a set for like $700. $700 is too much to spend to increase winter safety by a large margin on a $30,000+ car. Hell, people don't even use turn signals. The little stick that is less than 2 inches away from where your hand should be, and you don't even have to take your hands off the wheel to activate it. The problem is you'd have to decide which of your 16 cupholders to put the cup in, then reach way over and put it down before you could signal.
Regardless, safety is still wanted. Just because people don't go over the top doesn't mean they don't want any at all. Having a lighter vs heavier frame would make a significant difference in a collision between regular-style cars and new, lighter ones.
The rest of your comment is attacking a strawman.
At some point in the future, I hope the NHTSA takes in "probability of crash" into their safety ratings for self-driving vehicles. Otherwise the safety bloat in modern cars will stick around. The equivalent of wearing a motorcycle full-face helmet while riding a bicycle.
Make all the delivery vehicles that have no people in them really light first
We can barely get common-sense prison-reform (or anti-surveillance) legislation on the US for fear of being labelled soft on criminals; imagine the terror of being the legislator who made cars less safe (without even winning favour from the auto manufacturers for doing so).
Some people simply need large cars - how are you going to legislate that?
If I routinely carry 9 people, I need a large van. I don't have the option of a lighter car.
There are plenty of ways for criminals to commit super easy crimes without autonomous vehicles being in the mix, but somehow society continues to function.
Stealing an unmanned vehicle-- and getting away with it-- should be very difficult.
Visitors like to walk up and take selfies with it, but no one messes with the thing because it's uploading 360 HD footage to some control center somewhere.
Some drunk guy tackled the one that roams the company that makes thems parking lot. He was promptly arrested based on all the excellent, well lit HD footage of his whole run up and contact with the robot.
As witnessed by the difficulty people have dealing with package thieves, "getting caught doing it" is unfortunately different from "not getting away with it", even when 'it' is illegal.
Sentry guns on top or inside.
All this is operational now in parts of China. They've finally figured out how to automate karma.
They could still make it too easy to vandalize on a whim, but AFA theft, it is probably better than owning a Toyota.
I don't know what is worse: If that's true or if it's a lie.
Though I do agree with you: I recently took a job with a self-driving car co, and am starting shortly (due to the technical challenges and great pay); but the assumed timeline most people are operating under seem pretty optimistic to me. That being said, I think much of the industry isn't expecting fully autonomous vehicles until at least the 2040s.
I rarely (if ever) see them on the westside where the roads are nice, logical grids but mostly Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler where they aren't so nice and neat. Nothing like driving around SF admittedly.
Edit: Yeah, here's an article that mentions it. The governor came under fire for it when that uber car killed the pedestrian.
"Other than the mountains in and around the city, the topography of Phoenix is generally flat, allowing the city's main streets to run on a precise grid with wide, open-spaced roadways."
Grandparent's "damn near perfect grid" comment also jives with the layout of much of Phoenix.
I doubt our technology is ready for that.
I could imagine this concept scaled up to van size or even truck size, integrated with something like a refrigerated amazon locker. Exciting stuff!
What's the liability if their autonomous grocery kart runs over someone?
Why isnt there an unmanned transport infrastructure which could be built between endpoints.
Take Hyperloop as a model-example. Instead of hyperlooping people about - why not only freight?
Imagine a mini-hyperloop enclosed tube about 10-feet in diameter, which has delivery sleds between hubs, which interconnect...
Then do a 20' diameter tube with sleds, and you have a trucking system which can be managed with BGP level routing experience...
Everything old is new again.
As to why it's not currently done, if somebody comes up with a significantly lower cost method of doing purely underground construction (cut and cover trenching), directional drilling or small tunnel boring that doesn't cost a huge amount of money per linear meter, they'll become a gazillionaire. Not just "loops" but all electric, gas, water, sewer and telecom utilities will clamor for the tech.
Musk has been long mum on the subject but he recently said, at a National League of Cities event in Los Angeles on 2018-11-08 , that's he's open to the idea.
Of course, the big issue with tunneling, and construction projects in general, is often utility relocation, and not necessarily knowing where other utilities and surprises lie ahead of time.
 https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2018/11/09/its-not-...  https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/11/elon-musk-on-double-dec...
Whats funny is when I was twelve years old - I designed a magnetic lev train built in a balsa-wood frame circle, with a cabin which was suspended in the tube-frame...
I was really pissed when Musk came out with hyperloop in that I was like "Any twelve year-old can design this!"
Because they didnt have the methods, systems, etc that we have avail today... We should look at this again.
I would pose, that the "random scooter rental" algo would do well within this space...
When I lived in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Central Railroad was lobbying the state to allow it to run trains with only an engineer. It pointed to the safety records of freight trains in New Zealand running with no crew at all as a safety precedent.
I think in the end, it was allowed on routes where the railroad paid to upgrade the grade crossings.