There are some interesting possibilities with transportation in
the future. We're getting close to turning a car into a transport
robot. They say twenty years or more but I think it could be a lot less
with all the AI work being done.
Now, you're thinking that you want to own one, at least I am.
After all, you can drink and ride, you can fall asleep in your seat,
you can watch pr0n as your car drives you to your girlfriends house to
take her to some stupid social event, etc...
Those are great things. But I'm thinking by todays values. And
that is a fundamental mistake. A robot car changes the macro reality
of transportation. Essentially it makes all phases of transportation
automatic. From the factory to the train, to the shipyard, to the
plant, back to the train, from there to Home Club (a home improvement
store where you can by anything for building houses). Via the Internet
(or maybe in store) you buy something, their robot truck delivers, perhaps
from their in store stock, or maybe even from farther back in the production
'All and good' you say, 'but I still want one.'
Really, are you sure? Let's look at the micro aspect of things. I'll use shopping for food as an example since we all have to eat. You shop via Internet and have your food delivered to you via robotic car.
'But I like to browse the aisles. After all I don't always know what
I want. Sometimes I need a pleasant environment with lots of shiny
packages to help me decide. So I will have to have a robotic car to go
to the market,' you say - don't deny it, I heard you say it.
The markets, of course, have figure this out as well.
That's why they've contracted with Taxi Unlimited to shlep you
around. It won't cost you anything because they know if you come to the
store you'll spend more. They may even give you good discounts to entice you
to come to the store.
I'd like to point out that the taxi service would probably be
separate from the delivery service. The delivery car probably services
bunches of customers per run, where as the taxi may only hold one, two,
four, etc., people.
You may think you want a robotic car now but in the future it may be
a different story. Lets say a 'family' car would cost $10,000 a year,
that's payments, insurance, gas, servicing, etc. Now, lets say you would use
$2,000 worth of services from Taxi Unlimited. I'd like to point
out that those services could include vehicles outside of the 'family'
car designation, maybe 'light/heavy truck'. By going the Taxi Unlimited route
you've increased your capital a bit, $8k can buy a nice vacation,
jewelry, clothing, whatever.
Why is Taxi Unlimited so cheap?
Number one, their fleet will be standardized, pretty much all cars of
a given class will be the same. People today use cars to express their
individual personality. That means every couple of years the
manufacturers have to spend hundred of millions to replace a perfectly
good (technologically speaking) car with one that better expresses the
personality and fickle tastes of the buyer. We actually identify ourselves
with our cars and use them like clothing in a social sense.
Nobody will identify themselves with a Taxi Unlimited car anymore
than they'd identify themselves with their washing machine. With robot
cars transportation is not an expression of personality, it's a
Because of this, the changes in cars will only be technological.
Greater safety, efficiency, and passenger comfort is going to be the
only cause of re-tooling and redesigning cars. This will make cars
cheaper to produce. Million of units of great similarity over production
runs that last for years.
It's not that you won't be able to afford a car, it's that you'll have
better ways of expressing yourself with your money.
I think other possibilities and opportunities are out there to be
realized when we get robot cars. We just can't see them because we
think by todays culture. I think personal transportation is one of
those sensitive things in human life that will have tremendous cultural
impact. I suspect robot cars will have even greater impact than the
regular car did. Transportation of ourselves and material is just to
important to us as a species for an advance of this significance not to
Well, that's one possible scenario.