Self-driving Cars and Our Fear Of Elevators

What would save more lives than every surveillance program in the world today? Self-driving cars. (Edward Snowden)

In 1945, elevator operators in New York went on strike. This strike costs New York million of dollars in lost taxes and it slowed down 1.5 million office workers. This was the point where the elevator industry decided to rethink what an elevator was, they needed to come out with something that did not require human intervention. Fast forward few years and “self-driving” elevators were invented and they were very, very scary. Hanging hundreds of feet in the air by a cable without any control. Doors opened and closed automatically at the touch of a button. Who in the right frame of mind wanted to ride on one of those? People were skeptical and many hotels kept “human elevators operators” for many years because we still did not trust automatic machines. This sounds ridiculous, right?

Fast forward 71 years…2016.

Car as a Service “We will no longer think about vehicles sold, but total vehicle miles driven.” Ford CEO

The car industry is going to be disrupted the next 10 years. Electric cars and software based on self-improving driving algorithms will reshape the industry. We will see dramatic changes in what cars look like and who buys them. Steering wheels and other manual controls will be a thing of the past, so as mechanical complexity when moving to 100% electric. How different will tomorrow be from today? What will happen to mobility in the next 15 years? The future is here, courtesy of @Ideo (scroll down and click on objects, the website is very interactive).

So what is going to happen in the near future ?

  • Uber is already testing driving cars in Detroit and in a couple of years will build a centrally-controlled, all-electric, autonomous vehicle fleet. This will soon apply also to trucks. Adieu drivers…
  • Gas stations will disappear due to reduced vehicle ownership and electrification. Big political change due to a drastic change in the oil market.
  • Nobody will own a car anymore. Few big car manufacturers will disappear.
  • All cars will be electric. Only vintage cars will run on fuel.
  • All cars will be connected and protecting a car from hackers will be extremely important. There will be dangerous implications for the security of individual and society.
  • Self-driving cars will turn 50 billion hours of boring driving time (8% of GDP) into 50 billion new hours in moving living room

Who will win this race? Tesla or Ferrari? Apple or Google? Or maybe Baidu? Maybe the autonomous car of the future will just own itself and it will be powered by BitCoin.

Bonus video: look at these beautiful OLED car displays