I have been writing about this for a while, including this column in November where I scratched the surface of what the driverless car might bring us as a society, but after reading this article in Forbes written by Chunka Mui, my excitement grew, and grew, and grew.
I thought I would bring added flavor to my Motley Fool readers, no doubt piggybacking off some of Mr. Mui’s ideas, which are in line with my own. (perhaps he read my original column too)
Is It Real?
As of November Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s robotic car, a Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) Prius pimped out with onboard computers and laser visual echo system, had driven 300,000 miles without an accident. Since then, according to Mui’s column there were two minor fender benders when the driver switched over to human control of the car (which is an option).
Sidenote- as this technology ramps up, and comes closer and closer to fruition; Toyota and their Prius are going to be getting a lot of free press. According to Toyota.com the Prius, last month, had its best January ever, up over 36% in volume sold. Imagine if it somehow became the default for driverless car technology.
For a look at the car and a demonstration of how it works I refer you to: . It is definitely worth ten minutes of your time, promise.
First of all, this technology is ground breaking and Disruptive in major major ways.
As I am super excited about this, I will likely turn this into a series of columns. In this one I am going to explore 5 ways that society benefits of the hundreds that might exist. If you readers have more ideas of added benefits please enter them in the comment section. To write/ think of them all would take a long time, plus we'd need the clearest of crystal balls. Here are 5 biggies:
1). Car ownership won’t even be necessary
2). Cheaper insurance
3). Less demand for medical care
4). Seniors will be much more independent
5). Productivity of society will increase dramatically
Car Ownership Not Necessary??
That’s right. Most of the time your car lies dormant. Loan it out, there’s always a chance you won’t get it back, somebody will get into an accident, and lord knows what the liability situation is on it.
Enter the driverless car: Imagine a fleet of taxis driving around every nook of a large city. Merely communicate via your phone that you need a ride and within a minute the car is there. Used to parking far away? Not anymore. The car comes to you and drops you off at the front entrance of your location.
Maybe there are competing companies. Enter your destination into your phone, and instantly bids come in as to the cost. Press a button to choose. Based on GPS location, they know where you are.
Basically you will be paying per mile that you drive and no tip to the robot necessary (unless maybe it tells a super funny joke-app makers?)
No worries about overnight parking tickets on the street, about damage to the body of your vehicle from someone plowing into it and not leaving a note, car washes, etc. Nope, that will all be included in the price you pay for the trip.
No DMV fees for you, no tickets, personal liability coverage, etc. That doesn’t mean you might not choose to own a car, but unlike today’s world, you’d have the option.