The Self-Driving Car of the Future is Here

Tom Vanderbilt writes about the current crop of self-driving cars in Wired. "After almost a hundred years in which driving has remained essentially unchanged, it has been completely transformed in just the past half decade."

Vanderbilt tracks the stunning advances in autonomous automobiles achieved over just the last few years; and it won't be long until our cars drive themselves.

"The last time I was in a self-driving car-Stanford University's 'Junior,' at the 2008 World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems-the VW Passat went 25 miles per hour down two closed-off blocks. Its signal achievement seemed to be stopping for a stop sign at an otherwise unoccupied intersection. Now, just a few years later, we are driving close to 70 mph with no human involvement on a busy public highway-a stunning demonstration of just how quickly, and dramatically, the horizon of possibility is expanding. "This car can do 75 mph," [Chris] Urmson says. "It can track pedestrians and cyclists. It understands traffic lights. It can merge at highway speeds."

Full Story: Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of the Future Is Here



Unsustainable distraction

I'm going to raise the "unsustainable" flag on this one.

This type of activity requires that the industrial system continues functioning.

The industrial system requires the use of nonrenewable resources which will be exhausted in 50-60 years. Many of these resources cannot be recycled; they are effectively gone forever once they are used.

Therefore, the industrial system has at most 50-60 years left of life in it. After that, it is game over for the industrial system.

Besides being unsustainable, this type of gee-whiz technology distracts the public from addressing the problem of sustainability. Let's put these engineers to work doing something useful, like figuring out how to gracefully transition to a deindustrial society. From here on out, the industrial system should only be used to transition to a deindustrial system.


Sustainable focus.

Besides being unsustainable, this type of gee-whiz technology distracts the public from addressing the problem of sustainability [quotation marks added]

Exactly. Closing the loop and acting "sustainable" will make hundreds of $billions in traditional industrial and extraction profits disappear. Can't have that, you know. Bad for business.



Corporate propaganda

Automobile-related international corporations which manufacture, sell, finance, insure, fuel and advertize car sales etc will continue to produce inherently 'unsafe' automobiles. Planned obsolescence, including replacement from deadly crashes, is built into their design. Robotic technology is purely a waste of time. Driving, flying, trucking and shipping less is our only hope of building a sustainable civilization, sensible economies and cultures which aren't based upon cutthroat capitalism. Wired magazine propaganda has no more credibility than Popular Mechanics. Have a nice apocolypse.

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