Google has successfully driven a car -- without a human driver -- on San Francisco Bay Area roadways.
In December, I met with my very respected and knowledgeable web manager. We talked about a new technology being developed at LCT Magazine that will dramatically change the way we interact with one another.
In our conversations, talk of Uber crept in. We’re all amazed at the popularity of this app, and how people overlook the shortcomings of the company. The main problems relate directly to driver actions. As the web manager relayed to me, Uber’s CEO has publicly stated why he’s not concerned long term for his company’s well-being as it relates to driver problems.
Based on media reports, Uber is partnering with Google on a driverless car program. This is not a pipe dream.
Google has tested driverless cars throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada for the last few years.
Furthermore, their driving results are astounding. Advances are moving faster than anyone expected. In the not too distant future, the next big disruption will be removing the driver from our business model and revamping roads in urban areas with infrastructure to support this new dynamic. While the new technology would affect jobs, there would be many positive outcomes for the chauffeured transportation industry.
With cars that run on a zero-error margin, you can expect insurance and labor costs to decrease. Here are some interesting insights from Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, as reported by TheVerge.com from the Code Conference held in May 2014:
“Uber will eventually replace the people who drive its cars with cars that drive themselves, CEO Travis Kalanick said at the Code Conference. A day after Google unveiled the prototype for its own driverless vehicle, Kalanick was visibly excited at the prospect of developing a fleet of driverless vehicles, which he said would make car ownership rare.
‘The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car,’ Kalanick said. ‘When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. So the magic there is, you basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.’”
This is another take away from the tech world that our industry can start seriously discussing at LCT trade shows and conferences throughout 2015. Change happens in today’s world in blinks. And this is one to embrace.
“Autonomous Driven” (with a concierge for luggage and door service of course!) is not an if, but a when. Get ready; we will be circulating in a driverless world by 2025.