Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Erik of Hazelfield

Electric cars and the future of transportation

109 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, felice said:

People are largely attached to the information stored on their phones, not the physical hardware; they're usually happy to toss out their old phones without a second thought when they get a better, newer model. And while phones might be unused the majority of the time, they're used frequently and unpredictably. And it's not that unusual for people to let someone borrow their phone to make a call, without charging anything.

Some people are attached to some cars, but most people most of the time just want a reliable way to get from one place to another.

The time cost of commuting doesn't go down, so long distances are still undesirable. And the most practical option is probably local shuttles that take people to and from the nearest train station or express bus hub, making many trips every rush hour.

No, it's an incredible waste. It would be far more efficient for most of those people to use public transport instead.

 

MAYBE.  If it existed.  Which in most places in the US(at least), for all intents and purposes, it does not.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only owned one car in my life, my little Focus that I've had for over 9 years. I am selling it this month and going car-free, as I am moving to a dense urban area (Chicago) and will be living <2 miles from my school. I anticipate being car-free for the entire time I am there, at least 5 years. I'm actually very excited about it, as I enjoy walking/biking and won't have to worry about car costs or maintenance anymore. I hope that by the time I am back in the market for a personal vehicle, electric will be very viable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, felice said:

 

No, it's an incredible waste. It would be far more efficient for most of those people to use public transport instead.

 

I think you're underestimating the utility of a personal automobile if you think of it as waste.

Rather than think of it as waste, wonder why it is that every single person individually came to the same decision: that even if their car sits idle most of the time, it's still worth paying for personal excess capacity given the utility benefits that are instantly available and additional benefits that accrue over time.

To most americans, Public Transportation is a punishment inflicted on the poor, and the poor have to suffer their sentence because no one values their families nor their time, they simply have to sacrifice both. therefore, to most americans, encouraging people to use public transportation is akin to encouraging more people to be poor.

And I say that as someone who thinks LAs bus system is pretty remarkable. I was car free in LA for three years, and was perfectly capable of getting around. It took inordinate amounts of time, but I was on my own and had no family then and lived with friends, so the only one time-punished for using public transit was me.

Edited by lokisnow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So in regards to the idea of not owning a car and instead sharing it with others. That's already a thing in some places Vancouvers also starting to see a decline in car ownership, though I'd say it's too early to say if this trend will continue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eh, I'm of the opinion that share your cars, own your cars, uber your cars, airbnb your cars...whatever. You (as an aggreggate population) want to live in a city, you should walk, bike or use mass transit, outside of highly specific and low-occurance circumstances in which autonomous (or not, it doesn't matter that much) cars can be a supplementary mode. Or there will be no impact on the current congestion, time loss, health impact, sustainability, etc, issues. It's a question of vehicle-kilometers-driven, not vehicles per se.

Sure, a better utilization of vehicle park-time might reduce parking, though not nearly all that much of course, because it's all about peak demand times. If you can make 1/24th of the population need to go into work equally every hour of day and night, go ahead. Given that most of us need to leave the house between 7 and 8 am, how autonomous our cars are won't make the slightest difference to how many of them are needed to get us there and how parked they're going to be the rest of the time. But I fucking hate parking so that will make me happy as well (I know some transit planners who get into it because they hate cars - these are usually bike guys - but not me. I fucking hate parking).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

A while ago somebody checked, and found that cars owned by these car sharing companies aren't any better utilised than private owned cars. They both spend 23 hours a day parked in the street. And people treat them pretty badly, too. I know because I tried one of these services and was appalled by the large number of dents and scratches the cars had. So car sharing is nice in theory, but doesn't really work that well in the real world. It's only a viable alternative to owning a car if you use public transport most of the time anyway.

Edited by Loge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could have bought a Tesla when I changed my car earlier this year but didn't due to their battery range and that they don't offer a SUV, when electric cars are taken up by more mainstream manufacturers and the battery range improves then I will happily make the switch, I'm of completely the opposite opinion on my motorcycle though, I will be sticking with a gas powered one for as long as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Datepalm said:

Eh, I'm of the opinion that share your cars, own your cars, uber your cars, airbnb your cars...whatever. You (as an aggreggate population) want to live in a city, you should walk, bike or use mass transit, outside of highly specific and low-occurance circumstances in which autonomous (or not, it doesn't matter that much) cars can be a supplementary mode. Or there will be no impact on the current congestion, time loss, health impact, sustainability, etc, issues. It's a question of vehicle-kilometers-driven, not vehicles per se.

...

This seems to be one of the pillars of the current trend in Dutch city management. They seem to aim for most traffic from periphery to centre (where we still have shopping, culture and other facilities) and other important hubs (such as university campus/science park, sports arenas, office parks) using public transport, bike or walking. While keeping the option for people to get away from the cities using private cars. Of course the climate and terrain helps, and the generally old inner cities with limited space make this approach almost mandatory.

At the same time they are also facilitating electric cars by making public charging points available. Which also helps in keeping cities liveable, by keeping noise and atmospheric pollution down.

Self-driving vehicles in the cities here might have to wait a bit. The pedestrians and cyclists operate on their own ingrained sets of rules, that might or might not overlap with the official ones. And at the moment the silence and speed of electric vehicles (scooters, bikes, cars) is still throwing the reaction patterns of everyone off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't really have much to add but I'm fascinated by this subject. I definitely fall in the camp that thinks it'll catch on far quicker than we realise, 2020 isn't far fetched at all I don't think. Ford plan to have a level 4 autonomous vehicle in production by 2021, and other companies will follow. It's strange that the main hurdle is for the car to perform alongside human driven cars on roads designed for human drivers, when a century from now it could well be that autonomous vehicles flow seemlessly down tracks designed only for them - tracks which even now they could perform fine on. The transition is the difficult part, not the end state.

Convenience alone would be enough to convince me, or cost (trips could become very cheap without the need to pay a driver, easily to the point of being more viable than buying a car and tax and insurance and parking, etc) but really the insane number of deaths is entirely sufficient argument by itself. History will not look kindly on a machine that kills over a million people a year, and wonder why on earth we put up with that. "Did people back then also fly their own planes and crash them every now and then? No, they were quite rational about that; training pilots extensively to do the job. Driving, on the other hand, you went round the block and someone ticked some boxes and then you were free to drive your death machine wherever and whenever you liked, with whichever passengers." If you proposed cars tomorrow in a parallel world where they didn't exist yet, arguing "they're quite convenient, if you ignore the million deaths" you'd be called barbaric for thinking such a thing was even conceivable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's been an aim of Dutch city management for decades, which is why the Netherlands is - believe it or not, if you're living in it - a world leader in social and environmental transport sustainability, had also managed to generate a respectable - by the standards of these things - level of public support or acceptance for these policies. It's a very long-term process that has to encompass a lof of actors - physical infrastrcuture, national policy, taxation, etc, local and regional land-use patterns, traffic management, and transit planning and inverstment, education and social attitudes and campaigns, and so on...and they all have to be going in the same direction at the same time and for a long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

43 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

Don't really have much to add but I'm fascinated by this subject. I definitely fall in the camp that thinks it'll catch on far quicker than we realise, 2020 isn't far fetched at all I don't think. Ford plan to have a level 4 autonomous vehicle in production by 2021, and other companies will follow. It's strange that the main hurdle is for the car to perform alongside human driven cars on roads designed for human drivers, when a century from now it could well be that autonomous vehicles flow seemlessly down tracks designed only for them - tracks which even now they could perform fine on. The transition is the difficult part, not the end state.

Convenience alone would be enough to convince me, or cost (trips could become very cheap without the need to pay a driver, easily to the point of being more viable than buying a car and tax and insurance and parking, etc) but really the insane number of deaths is entirely sufficient argument by itself. History will not look kindly on a machine that kills over a million people a year, and wonder why on earth we put up with that. "Did people back then also fly their own planes and crash them every now and then? No, they were quite rational about that; training pilots extensively to do the job. Driving, on the other hand, you went round the block and someone ticked some boxes and then you were free to drive your death machine wherever and whenever you liked, with whichever passengers." If you proposed cars tomorrow in a parallel world where they didn't exist yet, arguing "they're quite convenient, if you ignore the million deaths" you'd be called barbaric for thinking such a thing was even conceivable.

Well, self driving cars only work in environments where casualty rates are already low, i.e.~on highways. The bulk of the casualties is in the developing world, and you aren't going to get self driving cars there any soon. 

 

I'm afraid this guy isn't going to get a self-driving car any soon.

Edited by Loge
added link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Kalbear said:

So far AI-driven cars have had a significantly lower accident-per-mile rate than person-driven cars. 

So far, AI-driven cars must have a person behind the wheel and can be taken over at any time.

Quote

AI is getting drastically better, as are the sensors and information. Another way to say it is this: when an accident happens people can make it so that same kind of accident will almost certainly never happen again, for any self-driving car, ever. That alone makes it significantly more likely to improve. 

That is absolutely impossible.  Each accident is an independent event with infinite variables, the biggest of which is a human at the helm of most other cars.  This isn't a discrete problem with a single solution that can just be saved and avoided for next time.  Some might be, but the vast majority cannot.  The current state of AI is just not good enough for it, and the rate of its growth doesn't look like this is going to change any time soon.  

Quote

You're going to see states with self-driving cars this year. 

Not without a human to take over.  

Quote

I just want you to try and remember that you said this in 2020. 

You as well.  This is a pretty optimistic expert in the field, and even she says that this is at least 10 years out.  I find that to be pie-in-the-sky talk of a leader trying to justify the investment and doesn't take into consideration that fully automated vehicles will need to have completely new regulations at both the state and federal level that could take years after driver assisted cars prove their mettle.  But it's Canada, so it might have been taken into consideration.

https://torontolife.com/city/qa-artificial-intelligence-expert-raquel-urtasun-complicated-future-transportation/

Based on the studies I've done in AI, neural network learning, sensor issues, and all of the issues that come with driving in less-than-ideal conditions while sharing the roads with humans in all kinds of mental states; the problem of fully autonomous vehicles is much bigger than most people realize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to be clear, @aceluby, my contention is not that you'll see them at mass scale by 2020. Mine is that you'll see them on a regular basis like you do, say, electric cars now, by 2020. 

Which the article that you linked is saying as well. 

You'll see them as delivery cars and truck replacements and early adopters. You'll see them more in California and Nevada and Washington. But they'll be there. 

And yeah, they will likely have a driver to take over because the law will not be there yet, but by 2020 you'll have people who haven't taken over in months and don't even think about doing so any more. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, lokisnow said:

0. People have emotional relationships to the things that they use and things that they own. Most people have a mortgage, meaning they don't own their house, but they still have an emotional relationship to their house. Most people have a car payment, meaning they don't own their car. but they still have an emotional relationship with their car. Most people have a phone payment, meaning they do not own their smart phone, but they still have a deeply profound relationship with their phone. As cars become more like cellphones that emotional relationship will increase commensurately. People's brains are hard-wired to be selfish. The more emotionally attached people get to their smart cars, the less likely they are to share their smart cars.

You make some good points, but I'll limit my response to the emotional connection to a vehicle for now- I think a lot of that emotional connection comes from the car being an extension of individualism, and driving as a limited form of personal expression or at least self-assertion. Actually driving is a difference in kind from passively riding in an encapsulated node of a synchronous flow of human delivery. I mean who is going to be watching the road? Being in the "car" will just be an extended work or leisure period. I mean I'm sure people will want to own fancy camper or sleeper analogues, but I think autonomous cars will be the end of cars as we know them. Obviously there will still be rich people who want to impress people with their vehicles, and manual driving/racing will still be a popular hobby, but the thrill and romance of the open road...gone. And the next generation won't miss it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Just to be clear, @aceluby, my contention is not that you'll see them at mass scale by 2020. Mine is that you'll see them on a regular basis like you do, say, electric cars now, by 2020. 

Which the article that you linked is saying as well. 

You'll see them as delivery cars and truck replacements and early adopters. You'll see them more in California and Nevada and Washington. But they'll be there. 

And yeah, they will likely have a driver to take over because the law will not be there yet, but by 2020 you'll have people who haven't taken over in months and don't even think about doing so any more. 

I wouldn't hold my breath for that.  AI still has issues with voice recognition.  Virtual assistants, which are developed for a very fixed, specific function, are still not widespread and have a ton of user experience issues.  These are much simpler problems and the AI isn't there yet.  That's just on the AI side of things that will require someone behind the wheel anyway for at least a decade, if not more.  And why would an 'early adopter' choose to have this technology when they will be forced to pay for it AND a driver?  Increase costs so that one day, maybe, they can go fully autonomous?  Or wait until its proven out that it absolutely will save them money, and it's cheaper, before making the investment?

It's a cool idea, and I'm sure there will be some people willing to take the leap and specific routes/use cases where it could work great.  Possibly even by 2020.  But between the technology and the lack of ROI for businesses, I think you're greatly overestimating how soon the impact will come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Weeping Sore said:

You make some good points, but I'll limit my response to the emotional connection to a vehicle for now- I think a lot of that emotional connection comes from the car being an extension of individualism, and driving as a limited form of personal expression or at least self-assertion. Actually driving is a difference in kind from passively riding in an encapsulated node of a synchronous flow of human delivery. I mean who is going to be watching the road? Being in the "car" will just be an extended work or leisure period. I mean I'm sure people will want to own fancy camper or sleeper analogues, but I think autonomous cars will be the end of cars as we know them. Obviously there will still be rich people who want to impress people with their vehicles, and manual driving/racing will still be a popular hobby, but the thrill and romance of the open road...gone. And the next generation won't miss it.

and yet, the development of technology through the ages is always with the goal of making consumers MORE emotionally attached to their consumer goods, if the goal of self-driving cars is to make people less attached to their cars that goal goes against the tide of every single manufactured--particularly "smart"--object purchased by consumers. 

Half of silicon valley is devoted to making you "love!(!)" your phone, most major manufacturers want you to say something like, "I _Love_ my new washing machine" They don't want you using it's advanced technology to open an Air B&B clothes washing service, they want you using the advanced technology to emotionally bond with their brand.

Every car manufacturer, wants you to declare your "LOVE!" for their cars, Tesla owners pretty ubiquitously talk about their Teslas in exclusively emotional language. The emotional connection to the car is WHY they are willing to spend $100,000 on a car (they can afford it, but if they did not have the emotional connection, they would not make the purchase). 

Everyone I know that has an iphone always talks about their phone in emotional language. Even their frustrations is emotionally driven. 

The bond between human and technology is CRUCIAL to getting us to continue over-consuming that technology, and we over-consume all our technology devices in consistent, individualized increments.

Saying self driving cars will only work if we break that bond means you have to fundamentally change human behavior as regards to consumption and fundamentally change corporate behavior as to how they regard consumption.

Neither of those two things are likely to succeed, in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, aceluby said:

I wouldn't hold my breath for that.  AI still has issues with voice recognition.  Virtual assistants, which are developed for a very fixed, specific function, are still not widespread and have a ton of user experience issues.  These are much simpler problems and the AI isn't there yet.

Natural language processing is not a simpler problem than autonomous driving. Especially for an AI. Same with virtual assistants. Figuring out how to make a computer do something like interact with humans in a natural way is hard, as we don't understand humans all that well. Figuring out how to use radar, lidar and sonar to detect objects and calculate speeds is by comparison a vastly more understood problem. It's kind of like saying that because computers have a hard time recognizing birds that they'll have a hard time playing chess; the two problems aren't really related in any way, and certainly not in development. 

4 hours ago, aceluby said:

 That's just on the AI side of things that will require someone behind the wheel anyway for at least a decade, if not more.  And why would an 'early adopter' choose to have this technology when they will be forced to pay for it AND a driver?  Increase costs so that one day, maybe, they can go fully autonomous?  Or wait until its proven out that it absolutely will save them money, and it's cheaper, before making the investment?

Because it allows them to do things like read or watch a movie or use their phone while not worrying about things. Or because they think it's cool. You're already seeing this with Teslas right now. Why is it that surprising others won't want to do that? Again, that's what early adopters do. They aren't waiting until it's cheaper, or will save money, or is proven out - they want the latest stuff right now. 

And that ignores things like Uber test driving it, or Google, or other stuff along the lines. It ignores insurance companies wanting this and likely being willing to subsidize it. It ignores the commercial aspect of it entirely. 

4 hours ago, aceluby said:

It's a cool idea, and I'm sure there will be some people willing to take the leap and specific routes/use cases where it could work great.  Possibly even by 2020.  But between the technology and the lack of ROI for businesses, I think you're greatly overestimating how soon the impact will come.

The impact is already here. All major auto manufacturers are assuming it is coming and are figuring out how they'll fit in to the new paradigm - either by developing their own systems or integrating with others. It has massive investment and working prototypes, and modular system in cars right now that will allow it to be just a software upgrade (see the Model 3 as an example). It will almost certainly be a bit longer to hit everywhere in the US - particularly since for a lot of people, new cars aren't something they ever do, anyway - but the impact on society is already here, and will be pretty large in a few years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finland is supposed to get a self-driving bus this year, and it's been trundling around - supposedly on its lonesome - at a stately, sedate pace for a few months now, if I understand correctly.

https://www.curbed.com/2017/6/15/15810912/driverless-self-driving-bus-finland-helsinki-transportation

The future is here! Or at least in a cute little robot-bus in suburban Helsinki.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Datepalm said:

Finland is supposed to get a self-driving bus this year, and it's been trundling around - supposedly on its lonesome - at a stately, sedate pace for a few months now, if I understand correctly.

https://www.curbed.com/2017/6/15/15810912/driverless-self-driving-bus-finland-helsinki-transportation

The future is here! Or at least in a cute little robot-bus in suburban Helsinki.

Okay, those are adorable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think autonomous cars will have a tremendous impact on our society in that it will eliminate all driving jobs, including truckers, taxi drivers and bus drivers. It might make a long commute more acceptable if you can work, read or even sleep during it. But what I don't think is that it will solve any of the congestion problems in our cities because cars are simply inadequate for the job, self-driving or not.

The possible option would be if autonomous tech and electric propulsion make buses extremely cheap to run and operate. Think about it - no driver to pay, no fuel - we could have buses running every 5 minutes until late in the evenings, but it would require cheaper batteries before it could happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0