Uber CEO: If Tesla’s cars are autonomous by 2020, we’ll buy all 500,000

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At the recent Top 10 Tech Trends dinner hosted by the Churchill Club, five of the world’s most famous VCs were asked what they think will be the most significant trends over the next five years.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: movenergy.net

Just a minor thought, that’s 500,000 ‘taxis’ that don’t need drivers. Or 500,000 unemployed taxi drivers looking for new jobs

I have a blog called The Future Diaries http://thefuturediaries.com/, which has been latent for some time due to other priorities. I had been planning to write a blog which was going to tell the story that Uber had replaced drivers in some markets with fully autonomous cars. It seems they are way ahead of me.

Around the world public transport authorities and providers are not in a hurry to introduce driverless public transport. It is certainly economical and reliable at this point in time. Note I’m not saying autonomous. I’m talking about systems like the driverless airport terminal trains they have had at Narita in Tokyo and other airports in some cases for decades. They don’t have a driver, but they also don’t face hazards such a unknown roads or other vehicles that are not part of the network they operate on.

I’m talking about concepts such as small passenger vans that link up to each other on dedicated bus lanes and form a rail-less train, platooning on the side of motorways or other major routes.

I suspect that for Government, their transport agents and their insurers, this is perceived as too risky at this stage, given that this technology is still in its early days.

However if a company like Uber did it and worked together with Government and the industry to manage safety concerns and with a technology leader like Tesla, there may well be a way forward.

The cons are of course, it jeopardizes the work of a huge number of taxi drivers as do many innovations of scale.

Some pros:

-Tesla’s are of course electric. In countries where electricity is green, this is a great Eco-friendly solution.

-Cost reduction in many areas including councils and government do not have to supply the vehicles, which are effectively a form of public transport.

-A user pay solution that has to fund an run from it’s own resources.

-These vehicles could provide ‘the last mile’ transport taking people to public transport hubs. Something of an issue in many cities around the world, which are dealing with rapid growth.

-Tesla have open sourced their technology. This means that universities, DOT’s, road safety engineers and others can all participate in the development of improving the quality of this technology and it need not be confined to just Tesla branded vehicles.

The taxi industry will have a major problem with this because it is a major work provider supporting everyone from the self employed and small business owners through to people who drive a cab as their second or even third job. This has always been an issue with technology replacing other jobs. I’m sure this type of initiative would in fact create new jobs and this is something that we also need to keep considering, but that is a topic for a future blog.

Your thoughts?

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About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in Autonomous cars, Driverless Cars, taxis, the future and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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