Hmm. On one hand I like this because it removes the necessity of getting in a car with a stranger. On the the other hand I like the”sharing” economy and how it allows so many to be their own boss. Thoughts everyone?

Via Scientific American.

The world could get a glimpse of a futuristic transportation system in which people get around in self-driving electric taxis as soon as next year.

General Motors Co. and Lyft Inc. will start testing self-driving taxis with real customers within a year in a pilot program that could include electric vehicles, a Lyft executive told The Wall Street Journal.

Those looking to cut carbon emissions from transportation have called the combination a “best case scenario” that could reduce pollution per mile by as much as 94 percent by 2030, according to a Nature Climate Change paper last year…

“It’s much faster than I had expected,” said Jeffery Greenblatt, an energy researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an author of that paper, about the testing timeline proposed by Lyft. “I had said 2030, and here we are already with companies jumping in to be first ones.

“It shows that there is a strong business case,” he added. “I hope that pans out in testing and that they are as useful and low carbon as we estimated that they are.”


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  1. Maynard says:

    The first thought that comes to mind is the “Johnny Cab” of “Total Recall”.

    But seriously…

    I’m broadly positive about self-driving cars in general (why limit the thinking to taxis?), which will have better vision and reflexes than the best of drivers. I have no doubt that self-driving cars will save many, many lives.

    There are concerns about privacy and security. I’m concerned about the privacy of any “smart” device, which tends to report to the base station and thus allows someone else a window into your private life. Your “smart” electric meter reports your usage in real-time; your “smart” devices not only report their status, but they can be controlled remotely. This is all in a good cause; it makes sense that the power station can dial down your climate control to prevent a brown-out, but of course the people who wield these powers tend to get drunk with their power and continue their endless micromanagement until we make no decisions at all. I’m hearing noises about taxing cars by the mile; “smart” cars will end up reporting all your movement, so that you can be “fairly” taxed based on your usage…and soon they’ll get the idea of raising those taxes to manage traffic, and so you’ll be herded through life like a rat in a maze. All for the common good, of course.

    As far as security goes, a “smart” car will be programmed to stop for pedestrians. If you think you’ll be safe because you’re not getting in a car with a stranger, think again. If a couple of thugs want to grab you, one of them will simply step in front of your car and it will stop, and the other will break you out. If I’m ever in a “smart” car, I want some sort of emergency override to take manual control and, if necessary, run down the guy who blocks my path. Sort of like Arnold did with his Johnny Cab, now that I think of it.

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