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Avoidable Contact #66: The autonomous grift, and how you’re going to pay the price for it
I can’t tell you what the price of oil, bitcoin, or Tesla stock will be 24 hours from now, but I feel absolutely confident in making the following longer-term prediction: You are never going to share the road with a significant number of autonomous vehicles. “Never,” in this case, is a fancy way to say never. Not in the lifetime of anyone reading this column. I am stone-cold certain about this. If you want to contact me and make some sort of bet, I’m your huckleberry—but give me a chance to convince you on the matter first.
Yeah, closed-loop systems are perfectly viable... where there is no weather variation, etc. and if you keep all the stray people out.
Ford could easily, today, set up a network of private roads through Detroit (let's say as there are still lots of needing-reborn areas there) that only their self-driving cars go on. No pedestrian traffic, the cars only take you from A to B and then go back to Ford garage where Ford technicians do all the mundane stuff (i.e., clean off all sensors) to make sure this no-driver car can function for another hour. Has to be a big player that owns a fleet of cars/pods though. Detroit gets weather though...
But maybe this (large company runs what is basically a taxi fleet in a given city) could actually be profitable in some places where weather helps the cause.
It's probably also possible/viable to steal a lane from chunks of the interstate system and do driverless trucking from hub points. Self driving transport through industrial parks or to construction sites I don't see working out too well.