A truck is a means to get cargo from point A to point B. A truck is a home, a job, a frequent guest in small towns that straddle highways, a way of life, and the beating heart of several supporting industries, all designed to keep the truck and its human pilot running. A truck is expenses, a breakable machine controlled by a fallible human, subject to labor laws and rules about interstate commerce. A truck is all of those things, and it may soon be a robot, too.
THE IMMINENT ARRIVAL of the self-driving car will change how people move around city streets, but they could do so much more.
If puttering around in the daily grind of traffic fills your annoyance bucket, take heart: self-driving cars will be in major city centers in 5 years, and they will be coming in hot. In fact, they’ll likely be commonplace everywhere within just 10 years. These nifty new vehicles have the potential to shake up your life in areas extending well off the road. Here’s why:
PEOPLE DON’T WANT cars, they want rides. That’s the existential fear plaguing automakers today. And they’re scrambling to do something about it.
Autonomous vehicles are going to radically change how we get around, and as they become commonplace in our streets, we’ll need to rethink how we design our roadways.
CAR CRASHES KILL more than a million people each year, and roughly 90 percent of them are the result of human error. That’s the strongest argument for developing self-driving cars: Humans are lousy drivers. Coolly logical robots, the thinking goes, will far exceed us.
AT THIS POINT, self-driving cars are futuristic in the way next Thursday is futuristic: not here yet, but definitely coming.
The government’s pumping billions into the idea, and Tesla Motors, Google, Uber, General Motors, Faraday Future, Baidu, and a long list of companies you would and wouldn’t think of are reserving their slice of the now-inevitable world where cars don’t need humans and can come to us with the press of a button.