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Does Google Envision Cars As A Communal Commodity?

It looks a bit like the "cozy coupe" that so many kids used to cruise their driveways during the 90s, but Google says that it could be the future. The latest version of the Self-Driving Car is nothing like the Lexus edition that we reported on previously. Gone are the steering wheel, brakes and much of the staples that many associate with a motorized vehicle. This one is all electric, having the same approximately one hundred-mile range as the Fiat 500e.

As you saw in the YouTube video, these vehicles are very unique. Google has said that an unnamed manufacturer will build 100 prototypes they that hope to integrate onto U.S. roadways. Rumors are that Roush Industries out of Detroit is just the company for this job. Nothing, however, has been officially confirmed, except Google reportedly saying that they would be built in the motor city area.

One of the eyebrow-raising concepts that Google has hinted at is how they would like this self-driving car to change how vehicles are used. In one of their official videos via the official SDC Google+ page, Chris Urmson, Director, of the Google Self-Driving Cars project said, “imagine never losing someone to a traffic accident again. Imagine a world where you get in your car, it takes you where you want to go, and then you get out. You don’t have to search for parking. You just leave it and it goes off and helps someone else get where they’re going.” Does Urmson mean that these vehicles will be specialized cars that act as communal transportation, or that the hope is that the individualization of all automobiles will be replaced with these self-driving transports? One has to lean towards the latter based on him saying, “never losing someone to a traffic accident.” If there wasn’t a full buy-in and change over to self-driving cars, how could such a hope be possible?

Let’s say that the roadways are filled with self-driving vehicles that transport people without individual ownership. Assuming that OEMs are making these self-driving machines, to whom are dealers selling cars to in that scenario? Who's at fault for their accidents? What do you see for the future of self-driving cars?

 

Comments

Here is how I see things happening:

There will be either no option, or no financially responsible reason to purchase a self driving car. It will start in small pockets (not unlike Google Fibre) and quickly transform each area into a car sharing city. You will sign up to a service that gives you access to the transportation service and contact them with your Android Device when you want a pickup or drop off. Google, will cover the cost of fuel, insurance, maintenance, and everything else and all you have to pay for is a monthly fee to travel; or possibly pay per mile.

First, they will likely be mixed amognst all drivers on the road. Then, they will have primary access to one lane. then half the lanes, and eventually only 1 lane will be reserved for traditional vehicles.

Not unlike what is happening with Google Fibre vs. the Telecom companies, the NADA will launch a full force attack against them in attempt to maintain the current model. Google will continue to press on, and simply wait for the tides to change all the while slowly expanding their car sharing service to different markets.

The smart OEM's will attempt to follow suit with the technology, and the ostriches will keep their heads in the sand until they either go bankrupt or are sold off in parts. The transport communities will wait to get on board the concept, but then jump completely head and feet first. Almost overnight all transport becomes automated. Taxi companies will disappear. FedEX will join forces with either Google or Toyota to buy their piece of the pie while USPS and US Postal Service go broke.

As Google's car service becomes more mainstream it will take over public transportation for the upper and middle class. Lower class families will be forced to use very aged, and very, very underfunded public transportation platform. Strip malls and shopping centres will either be abandoned, or retrofitted as public housing since all shopping is done digitally and delivered automatically. Interstate highways will start closing due to decreased demand, and all traffic is filtered to be most efficient. No sense maintaining roads that the Google Transport System doesn't use. Entire towns, and small cities will be squeezed out of existence since all transportation is cut off. All humans are being coerced into massive, efficient city mega-metropolis'

Super highways are constructed through the abandoned towns to connect NY to LA where automated trans speed at 900 mph. The airline industry begins to shut down as it is more cost effective to use automated ground transport.

Shortly thereafter Google changes it's name to Skynet. Skynet launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, which responded with a nuclear counter-attack against the U.S. and its allies. Consequent to the nuclear exchange, over three billion people were killed in an event that came to be known as Judgment Day.

Following its initial attack, Skynet used its remaining resources to gather a slave labor force from surviving humans. These slaves constructed the first of its automated factories, which formed a basis for its agenda. Within decades, Skynet had established a global presence and used its mechanized units to track down, collect, and dispose of human survivors. Skynet serves as a computer which seeks to destroy humanity and to control the Earth.

June 3rd

Karbaum, that comment was more than blog worthy! Nice work, well said.

Such an interesting topic! If it's Google, it's advertising. So, I disagree with one thing you said. I don't think you will have to pay a fee at all. As soon as you get in you have to watch a 5 minute advertisement before the car moves... Maybe it's commercials the whole time you are moving. Who knows, but I believe the model will be free for users. This is just crazy that I'm even discussing this. HA!

June 10th

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