Let the Robots Drive

There's no tech out there that I think has more capacity to change the world (for better or worse) than artificial intelligence. For that reason, learning about AI and talking with other people about AI gets me PUMPED. One of the main areas that I'm interested in seeing AI take hold is when it comes to autonomous vehicles, and I can explain that through all the reasons I hate cars:


Why cars suck

Driving is by far one of the most dangerous things we all still participate in on a regular basis, it's the first or second most common causes of death for every age group. Commuting is also one of the most time consuming, with the average American spending over 12 days cumulatively in a car per year, or almost three work weeks. Imagine what you could do with that time, and then multiply that by 328 million. In addition, cars require parking spaces, parking towers, wide streets, highways, and countless other inefficient infrastructure requirements. Vox puts it really well:


There are a billion parking spots across the United States, four for every car in existence. Plus, there are all the paved roads crisscrossing our cities. Add it up, and many downtowns devote 50 to 60 percent of their scarce real estate to vehicles:

Cars kill people, take all our time, take up all our space, and on top of that they're expensive. Aside from the enormous upfront costs, they need insurance, gas, maintenance, and even parking if you live in a major city. What's worse is you're only in the damn thing for a fraction of the total time you'll own it, and the rest of the time it's just a two ton steel block on four pieces of stupid rubber eating away at your hard earned cash.


Despite all that, they're still the main type of transportation (At least in the US) so any radical changes to transit will probably include cars in some shape or form. Enter stage left, Nightrider.



Safer

First, autonomous vehicles are safer. 94% of accidents are a result of human error, rather than mechanical failure with the vehicle. Removing us from the equation would mean eliminating nearly all the deaths and injuries associated with driving.


Faster

Second, they're faster. Here's a video of an autonomous car driving through a very narrow tunnel at almost 120mph. The amount of micro-adjustments required to keep the car going straight at that speed are extremely difficult, if not impossible for a human. With those kinds of reaction times, autonomous vehicles would be capable of going far higher speeds at the same level of safety even out on the highway. The more of them there are, the safer it gets as the cars get the capacity to "talk" to each other and communicate over all traffic rather than just what traffic driver can see.


Cheaper

Finally, when cars drive themselves, we may not need to own them. Ride share companies are planning on investing in entire fleets of autonomous vehicles that they'd be able to deploy as needed. We'd be able to a hail an AI-driven car anytime we needed, through an app like Uber or Lyft (who both largely rely on this tech for their future). Rather than only using the car for 5% of the time that you're paying for it, Your costs would drop the upkeep of a car for the short period you're using it, or somewhere between 20 and 30 cents per mile, or far cheaper owning a car per mile driven, at a fraction of the headache.


So again, let the robots drive.

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