[FoRK] Your prediction, please

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun Jun 23 16:55:43 PDT 2013

On 6/23/13 2:42 PM, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:
> One possible market: upper middle class folks who don't want to use public transportation, who want privacy and the ability to 
> get work done while commuting, and yet who cannot afford a chauffeur. Replace the dashboard with a desk and monitors. Or have 
> the front row of seats facing backwards, facing the back row of seats, like the back section of a limousine -- something like
> http://photo.netcarshow.com/Mercedes-Benz-S-Class_Pullman_Limousine_W220_2001_photo_05.jpg
> but with no driver's section.
> Alternatively: upper middle class folks who have had their license revoked due to speeding or drunk driving.
> The money in these markets could help push both production of the vehicles, and the laws to make them legal.
> Once the laws are in place and production cost drops, then the *bottom* end of the self-driving car market may omit the 
> steering wheel and other controls just to cut costs.

The high-end is definitely a sweet spot in the market, as Tesla has shown.  The flip side is that it could become a luxury to be 
able to drive yourself in public since when automated driving is much safer, only the well off will be able to afford to indulge 
self-driving car insurance.

One way to solve many failure cases would be to use redundant, low-latency IP connectivity to support remote monitoring and, 
when necessary, remote driving a la drone pilots of vehicles.  Whenever a failure case is detected, the vehicle should make a 
safe stop until someone is able to take control.

While having a driver at the wheel ready to take over is a good bridge strategy, it gets much more interesting to assume that 
there is no licensed driver available.  That allows transport of children and others in a much more efficient way.

It could make learning to drive and early licensed driving interesting: Fail too much and the car takes over and drives you home 
to the parents for retraining.  The next step is automated driver training...  Perhaps even to higher levels than now.

> - Joe 


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