For the very old, that ship has already sailed. Thinking of my surviving grandmother, her take on losing access to the car is "it's a bummer but I didn't have one until I was twenty five anyway."
And many younger people would prefer not to need a car at all by virtue of living in a human-scale environment.
But for my parents (baby boomer) generation, what I hear from them is "I don't know what I'm going to do when I can't drive anymore, that's just terrifying." They love their cars, and feel crippled when they can't drive anymore, as they lose access to the suburban lifestyle they've spent their whole life pursuing.
Thus, going after the "active retirement" people who have money and want their "freedom" back is probably the best possible place for a self-driving car business to start.
(edited for clarity)
Many more people live in suburbs than in cities. The suburban population is actually growing faster than the urban population . For this plurality of people, cars aren't only convenient but irreplaceable.
Suburbs as a place where you can only survive with a car are mostly an American phenomenon. Most other countries mix low density commercial and residential areas a lot more, making a car-less lifestyle much easier.
So I’m not entirely sure how exactly you intended to be sarcastic.
I don’t and I’m <30.
> They ARE full of divesity and energy
So is the town I live in.
> how are single-family homes and strip malls going to provide startup jobs?
Have you visited Boulder? They make it work.
> if you live in a city and don’t have to drive much or don’t have to drive as far, mathematically you’re using less fossil fuels.
> Suburban sprawl is an objective contributor to greenhouse gas emissions because you have to drive everywhere.
But I don’t care enough to change my lifestyle until everyone else does first.
You’re kind of proving my point. The point of my previous post is that the HN echo chamber believes that everyone agrees on these subjects. Tons of people do not agree. You won’t gain any favor by painting large landscapes with sweeping generalizations of what people think.
Where the dissonant note is downvoted and flagged to death.
Sorry this upset you.
I can’t understand why people feel the need to point out that self-driving cars won’t be able to handle Siberia as proof that they won’t be worth anything.
The future is already here, and it's getting further and further unevenly distributed.
They're in a fairly unique position that, if it's raining or snowing, whatever they needed the car for, they'd probably wait anyway. They're also able to schedule transport form say, 10 AM to 4 PM and only in optimal conditions.
I can envision a system where you hop in the car and hit the button, and the car checks weather and traffic and then responds, sorry, no can't do that now. That really wouldn't meet my needs, but it would meet my grandma's needs.
Heck there are parts of Arizona where the laws could be changed, controlling speed and access that would make level 3 good enough. Mostly the rule is just _go slow_. Everybody is different, though i can imagine people given the choice of a level three or no car, would probably take the level three. The car won't drive you across the country, but it'll get you to the grocery store if the weather is good.
Not being able to drive on certain roads because of road quality and other restrictions also become much more acceptable if you alternative is not having a car at all.
This. As an anecdote, my grandmother still drives, but does not drive at night, or in bad weather.
In places that have winter it's not some roads. It's all roads. The surfaces will be completely covered for months. There will not be reliably or static visual indicators. People will park haphazardly and arbitrarily. People will act like people and form new arbitrary lanes to drive in. Parking lots will be free for alls. This is not something that only occurs during snow events. It's a multi-month permanent thing.
Interpreting this all and driving safely requires an general understanding of the environment and human behavior that machines just won't have for a very long time. It's hard enough for humans.
Of course there are places where it's worse, and the US tends to have more extreme winters because of their unique geography (no mountain ranges that block wind from the North, combined with a huge land mass in the North). But that's the exception, most inhabited places have very managable winters.
The winter I describe does exist. It exists for many tens of millions of people in the USA in many states.
Retirees tend to avoid rush hour and bad weather, and they’re less time constrained, so there’s some room for experiments and there will be a growing incentive as more Boomers become unsafe to drive but are unwilling to give up a key part of their self-identity & lifestyle.
Yesterday it was snowing and there were 4 accidents during the evening commute. 2 were rollovers- SUVs taking a turn too fast for the conditions. 1 hit an elk- driver not paying adequate attention to the side of the road. 1 spun out and hit the ditch.
I think most of these accidents were easily avoidable with currently available technology. Simply driving slower and more cautiously would’ve prevented 3 of the 4 accidents yesterday.
There is an uptick in crashes as you get older than 69. But, they aren't the most crash prone age group, or even close.
Narrowed to fatality crashes, they do stand out. I'm guessing, though, because they are less likely to survive because of age.
Full article: https://aaafoundation.org/rates-motor-vehicle-crashes-injuri...
Anecdotally, I’ve been hit by senior citizens 3 times. All were very minor fender benders in parking lots or at traffic lights. In each case, I didn’t have the nerve to put them through insurance. We settled it personally and never reported to anyone.
Is it possible there are a lot of people like me that take pity on these older drivers and don’t report accidents?
Another common theme I see around me is when you’re in a corridor where most drivers are speeding by 5-10mph and there’s the one person in the left lane going 10mph under the limit. They’re usually a senior citizen. That creates bottlenecks and potentially dangerous situations behind the slow driver. They could be a contributing factor to accidents and wouldn’t be included in these statistics.
I suppose you could argue that those speeding are causing the accident because they’ve broken the law. It’s a fair argument.
With self driving there is no one to help.
As you get older you would want someone to make sure you got into the place. Someone to help you with groceries or other objects to the door.
This would nessiciarily drive you away from local business and to delivery for everything (online likely). And make it less likely you'd take the car if you needed assistance.
Eg as you get older where you have trouble driving you're likely going to need additional assistance that just a car can't provide.
I've been trying to convince my dad to use GoGoGrandparent instead of using the Lyft app so someone else can deal with ensuring the driver isn't an idiot, but he actually WANTS to track the driver himself.
Anyway, I'm feeling like by the time level 5 autonomous cars are around, we'll also have worked on improving helper robots for a big chunk of those needs.
Navya and Local Motors, with their little slow shuttle vans for airports and such, have this problem.
That is, it requires significant work to train a car to drive period, whether you train it in a relatively "orderly" environment (as we would think of it) or not. However, the training to drive in a chaotic city center should generalize to handle orderly environments, whereas the inverse may not be true.
The whole idea of driverless cars is not to be people movers on tracks, but to actually provide the versatility of a human driver in a car, so getting one that can do "everything a human driver can do" seems like the bar everyone needs to hit for it to be commercially viable.
1. We’ve known how to do it for 5,000+ years and it still works.
2. People can walk or bike so they don’t wind up on My 600-lb Life.
3. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Reduced stress from traffic.
5. Reduced traffic deaths.
6. Doesn’t rely on billions of dollars of unproven tech that may net work and we can get started today.
7. Reduces the soul-crushing boredom of suburbia, which has about as much character as a glass of water. Social interaction is important for humans.
But yes, retired people or just sleepier communities with an older population makes sense. It's not just because of an early stage rollout of self driving cars for a good tech shakedown, but also communities like that stand to benefit the most from it.
My dad back in the motherland retired recently and have generally poor eyesight in the dark, so he'd rather take a Grab than driving by himself if he needs to go out at night. Self driving cars could fill this need.
Retired doesn't mean crippled!
My mother in law is 84 and is a perfectly competent driver. I suspect that she would find a self driving car more difficult to manage than the Land Rover she currently drives simply because the UI will be unfamiliar. I'm 63, and retired, and while I enjoy the additional features that my Tesla S has I don't want them instead of being able to drive the car myself.
It's just the natural progression of tech. For example, you don't see the Flintstone style propulsion system on modern cars either, even though users could drive their cars that way and some would even find it more intuitive.