What if the Autonomous Car Industry Is Wrong?

7 Dec

Autonomous

Do you spend time in Silicon Valley or Detroit? If you don’t, know that most conversations involve these talking points: Autonomous cars are inevitable. Almost here. Will be ubiquitous. Save lives. Reduce traffic. Cut pollution. Also, mobility. And sharing. And no one will own cars. FYI, Don’t buy Tesla. Tesla sucks. Wait for our stuff.

“Never assume,” my father always said, so let’s follow his advice, deconstruct the clickbait underlying much of the autonomous driving narrative, and ask the question:

What if the autonomous car industry is wrong?

First we have to answer this: What is the autonomous car industry? On one side, we have the universe of Silicon Valley companies trying to figure out how to monetize an immature technology. On the other, we have the universe of legacy car companies terrified the upstarts are going to leave them behind. Since no one knows when or how it will be possible to monetize autonomous cars, they’re investing billions in anything with the words Autonomy or Mobility, catchphrases of a seemingly inevitable future they don’t understand.

Are autonomous cars inevitable? Of course. A self-driving car that works on the streets of Mountain View in decent weather? Google has them now. A self-driving car that is 100% guaranteed never to make a mistake, anywhere, in any condition? Not in my lifetime, and I’m not that old.

The billion-dollar question is—

Read the rest over at The Drive

An Open Letter to the Tesla Saboteurs

23 Nov

Tesla

I woke this morning to news of the alleged sabotage of the Tesla Supercharger in Barstow, California. Sad! But is it sad? Yes, but not for the reasons you think. A rising tide of Tesla hate—the sabotage, the fake news, the tireless trolls—got me thinking. If you’re judged by your enemies, Elon Musk should have Secret Service protection. By that standard, Musk should be President. Whatever their motive, the saboteurs have Tesla all wrong, as do all of Tesla’s enemies.

Even if you hate Tesla, you must love Tesla.

It’s true. Literally everything the critics hate about Tesla is in fact a strength. Kool-Aid? Here’s a vat of it, for even if everything Tesla’s critics say is true, Tesla has made the American automotive industry great again, and for that every American should all be proud.

Let’s deconstruct the arguments of those who would rather see the Fremont factory crushed between tectonic plates, with Musk tied down spreadeagled to a Space X landing platform during rocket testing.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Ed Snowden Loves Self-Driving Cars, Hates Privacy

12 May

SnowdenSnowden

If Ed Snowden wants to protect privacy and civil liberties, then he’s got some explaining to do re: his remarks on Self-Driving Cars. Yesterday he tweeted the following: Continue reading

Alex Roy Digest 5.10.16: Snowden’s Self-Driving Contradiction, Ford’s Fake Cylinders

10 May

Snowden

Love or hate Edward Snowden, we all know what he stands for. PRIVACY, right? Wrong. Because Snowden clearly also believes in Self-Driving Cars (SDC’s). For someone who claims to support privacy at any cost – including what critics would call treason – it’s the height of cognitive dissonance to ALSO believe in SDCs. SDCs, but definition, require the near total abdication of privacy.

How can Snowden not see this? And which side does he ultimately fall on?

Continue reading

Alex Roy Digest 5.4.16.2: Google is Colossus, China AD, Tesla

4 May

Colossus

GM ditched Google over data control? Add their coming big AI, and Google is Colossus. Or will be. Does that mean Ford is OK with Google’s data control? What does this say about BMW and Daimler’s rejection of Apple’s terms? Did Apple want what Google wants? Is Google already an adolescent Colossus?

Continue reading

Why Government Should Not Build Cars

19 Jan

Why Government Should Not Build Cars

I love France. I speak French. I own a French car. I like French bread. I used to eat French fries. The French are good at many things, but no one is good at everything.

I, for one, am not very good at ballet dancing. I could resume the dance classes my parents forced me into, but I like to learn from mistakes and let sleeping dogs lie. That’s where I differ from the French, because one of the things France is not good at—but that it is loath to admit—is the subsidy of technology investments.

The latest idea from the ministers in Paris? A $7,500 voiture électrique “for the people.”

Read the rest over at The Drive…

For The Public, Is Dieselgate Over?

24 Nov

Despite the flurry of increasingly bad news, I can’t stop thinking that the car buying public doesn’t know or doesn’t care about DieselGate. OK. Maybe they care a little. But not really. I’m starting to think that this too shall pass.

What say you?

NOW Will Toyota Cut Light Truck Pipeline To ISIS?

14 Nov

Alex Roy's LiveDriveRepeat

Questions were raised last month about how ISIS was getting their hands on so many brand new light trucks made by Toyota – the experts in military-grade light trucks at consumer prices.

Call me crazy, but if this supply hasn’t been cut…well…just call me crazy.

Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog and a Kinja of the same name.
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