What’s the future of transportation? Connected Cars? Self-Driving? Flying? (originally written in 2012 and published 6.17.2014)
Note: I first wrote this article in 2012 for Silicon Beach Clearly (a digital paper in Los Angeles that didn’t make it. The article has been reposted here).
Note; Most recent article from Dubai- http://bit.ly/2kjIDgJ
I often get caught in conversations about the future of this or that.
One that is coming up quite often is the future of transportation.
I’m not talking bullet trains or transporters a la Star Trek (though I do wish someone would hurry that one along!).
No, I’m speaking of personal transportation, the good old fashioned car.
What do you think it will be?
I say- all of the above.
Let’s start with the “connected” car. This is the future where all cars are connected to the internet and loaded with apps such as traffic, navigation, weather alerts, news updates, and more. A forever roaming hotspot will also enable the kids in the back seat to stay connected and entertained.
With apps such as Waze, which show you where other cars are on the road, where the hazards are, and does it’s best to reroute you in the most efficient way, there will be more and more crowd sourced information to enable better, more efficient driving.
If any of you have tried Waze, you may end up on a circuitous route through a random neighborhood, but you dutifully follow the voice coming from your phone.
This can and will eventually lead to self-driving cars that are then routed via a crowd sourced uber connected network of other connected cars. Indeed Google already has a car that is self-driving. The funny rumor is, years ago, a self-driving car had its first crash ever. How did this happen? Computer malfunction? Technical glitch? Nope. It was being “manually” driven at the time of the wreck? That’s right, good old fashioned human error.
What about flying cars? Could that be the answer? I fully believe it will be.
However, anytime I bring that up I’m always met with mass skepticism. Comments such as, “great, can you imagine the cars crashing into each other in the air”, or “there would be no way to police or control where people go”.
Well, I believe both aren’t true.
There’s a great new travel vehicle coming out that is part car (street legal), part helicopter (takes off vertically), and part plane (with speeds approaching a small jet).
It’s called the TerraFugia, http://bit.ly/TFXflyingcar.
This could take off from your drive way, land at your office, and get you home, all in no time at all.
I could even see high rise buildings of the future having their very own landing pad on each floor, or for each unit. Why not land outside your door on the 33 floor and walk into your residence?
Further, a bunch of self driving cars on the road does not solve the traffic problem. Living in Los Angeles, trying to get up or down the 405 is an effort is patient frustration. I also hear people say, “well if ALL the cars were self-driving, they could go faster”. While that may be true, it is “only” true is “all” the cars on the highways are self driving-which won’t happen in our lifetimes. Then, the response is to create a special fast lane — again — which begs the question, how do the cars enter and exit? You can’t have cars going 90 miles an hour in the fast lane and then have to cross four-lane of stand still traffic to try and exit. You can’t add more lanes on the highway.
However, in the sky? You would simple program in another lane. You would be able to drop to a different elevation and exit from the airpath.
I don’t believe that self-flying cars will actually be “flown” by the driver any more than I think when you walk on a commercial aircraft that you fly the plane.
No, indeed it will be software controlled, routed, dynamic, and infinitely more efficient than sitting in traffic — even if you were sitting in a self-driving car.
Again, this all goes back to the comments about trusting people to fly.
This is where I see the future clearly.
Imagine Waze navigation in a self-driving plane. There. Done! Easy!
You would simply get into your flying craft, plug in your coordinates, and off you go.
The navigation software would gently route you into a sequence to get you to your destination in the safest or quickest manner.
Further, if all of the air mobiles were equipped with the same shared software, then all of the vehicles in the sky would neatly show up on your dashboard grid.
This is really no different than the manner Waze currently works on your cell phone.
So, there you have it. Self-flying, fully connected, automatic navigation cars.
I still wish that Star Trek Transporter would come along.