Will Humans Still Drive?

4 Mar

I was recently asked by the excellent autonomous tech site 2025AD to join a debate entitled “Will Humans Still Drive?” Autoline’s John McElroy argued that we would. I’m not so sure. Here’s my take:

I’m of two minds on whether people will still drive.

The answer, of course, depends on one’s timeline. According to Fight Club, on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. Apply this to driving. Once technological barriers to self-driving cars fall, the end of human driving would seem inevitable. On a moral level, people shouldn’t be driving at all, if only for the inevitable likelihood of a fatal or injurious accident. On a societal level, for the shared cost of emergency services dedicated to such events. On an economic level, for the inefficiencies of entire industries and government organs required to service even the minor accidents that plague our roadways.

As a result, I am absolutely convinced that human driving as we know it will be outlawed, beginning in major urban centers in the first world, then spidering out across major arteries to form regional and national autonomous transportation networks linked with multi-modal nodes.

The tipping points won’t be for global, national or even regional ubiquity, but local, with interlocking threads slowly strengthening between nodes, intermixed with human driven and semi-autonomous vehicles.

Whether I like this future is another story. Continue reading

The War For Autonomous Driving: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class VS. 2017 Tesla Model S

27 Jul

Drive Pilot

Looking for a comparison of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the 2016 Tesla Model S? This is not that. Both are brilliant, gorgeous cars—best-of-breed luxury sedans in the war between internal combustion and electricity—but who cares?

The future belongs to Autonomous Driving.

The 2017 E-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz available with Drive Pilot—the brand name for their latest semi-Autonomous Driving (AD) suite—and is the first direct assault on Tesla’s Autopilot, which has captured the public’s imagination, for better or worse, since its release in 2015.

What is AD? It’s what happens when you combine Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Automatic Steering, and then a car begins to drive itself. How long, how well and how safely it does this is the difference between today and tomorrow, between semi-Autonomous and truly Self-Driving Cars.

Does Mercedes’ Drive Pilot deliver what it calls The Best or Nothing? Or is Autopilot—despite recent controversy—still the state-of-the-semi-Autonomous-art?

That depends on your expectations.

Read the rest over at The/Drive

Tesla Is Right. Consumer Reports Is Wrong. And Trying To Kill You.

16 Jul

Tesla Is Right. Consumer Reports Is Wrong. And Trying To Kill You.

Consumer Reports is trying to kill you. It’s true: The non-profit my parents trusted for advice on washing machines, coffee makers and sunscreen has crossed the line. CR, an organization claiming to serve consumers through unbiased product testing has chosen to enter the debate over Tesla’s Autopilot in the most ill-informed and irresponsible way possible. In doing so, the brand is putting additional lives at risk.

No company has done more to bring autonomous driving (AD) to market than Tesla, and yet they are now the target of a misinformation campaign rapidly coalescing around a single message: Tesla Autopilot is dangerous.

This is nonsense.

Read the rest of over at The/Drive.com

Alex Roy Digest 5.11.16: No Steering Wheels, Uber For Gas, People Are Dangerous

11 May

Filld

Transportation Communist/Gizmodo contributor Alissa Walker is back with another pro-Autonomous Driving article, Why Self-Driving Cars Should Never Have Steering Wheels. Citing Google’s Chris Urmson, she adds some predictable commentary to his argument that Self-Driving Cars basically should launch at Level 5. Don’t know your Autonomous Driving (AD) Levels? Here’s a nice chart from SAE. I’ll say this one more time…technology can solve a lot of problems, but it can’t solve for human nature. I don’t think it matters whether AD is Level 5 capable. People want to feel agency, however untrained they are in the art of driving. Article coming… 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 5.9.16: Is Driving The New Smoking? Cheap Oil & Tesla

9 May

Is Driving The New Smoking

Driving Will Be The New Smoking? There is a War On Driving, and this is exactly what I’m against.

Will EV Sales Growth and Global Spread of Fracking Keep Oil Cheap Forever?

Can Tesla afford to keep the Supercharger Network running? Another interesting article from the usual skeptics at Seeking Alpha.

Continue reading

Air Disasters, Indiana Jones and the Future of Car Accidents

21 Jan

Indiana Jones & The Swordfighter

The Age of the Autonomous Car is coming, and if you want to survive it, you need to re-watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and learn the Lesson of the Swordsman. Once you do that, you’re halfway to understanding the problem with autonomous cars. For every problem technology solves, a new one is created. We solved the problem of the sword with the gun. We are now poised to solve the “problem” of human drivers with Autonomous Cars. And that’s a problem.

If Indy’s gun had misfired, he’d have been toast.

What will happen when Autonomous Cars fail?

Read my latest article at The Drive…

Alex Roy’s Cannonball Run Buyer’s Guide

20 Jan

Alex Roy’s Cannonball Run Buyer’s GuideWhat is the best car for a Cannonball Run? Ah, the eternal question of car-loving criminals and outlaws, and car lovers with no criminal intent whatsoever. The conventional wisdom is not wisdom, because it is almost all based on the Cannonball Run and Gumball Rally movies. Although inspired by real events, both were comedies that glossed over the hardcore strategizing required to get dozens of cars cross-country at 100-plus mph, and to do it safely. The movies have literally nothing to teach us about the “right” car for running a Cannonball today.

Read the rest of my latest article over at The Drive…

Alex Roy On What The Ford/Google Driverless Partnership REALLY Means

22 Dec

Alex Roy On What The Ford/Google Driverless Partnership Really Means

It has begun. Ford and Google will partner to build Driverless Cars, according to sources. I must be Nostradamus. Just last week I explained “How Car Companies Can Survive The Self-Driving Car Apocalypse,” and now Ford has allegedly done precisely what I suggested OEM’s need to do to ensure their survival. Ford, as the first American OEM to partner with Google, has now gained a temporary but Brobdingnagian advantage over every other legacy OEM on the planet.

Yes, Brobdingnagian. On the scale of size, that’s bigger than big, massive or colossal.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog and Editor-at-Large for The Drive.
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