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My predictions about autonomous vehicles

No one can predict the future, so I'm going to try. Maybe it will be fun to come back to this post in 10 years and see how laughably wrong I was.

Traffic will become less hectic, not more

CGP Grey posted a great video The Simple Solution to Traffic which shows cars weaving in and out at rates that would only be possible with self-driving cars that all know what everyone else will do.

But I don't believe we will ever get to this level of automation. Or at least not for an incredibly long time, I see three problems standing in the way of this: * Cooperation - Will Ford cars talk to Toyota and Tesla talk to Chevy? * Security - Let's say we get cross-vendor communication going, how do we secure that communication so you don't get bored hackers jamming up traffic. * Other things on the road - The biggest blockers I see is other stuff on the road. That person who still wants to drive their vintage Ford Model T and even if we passed a law to ban all non-autonomous vehicles, what about cars that have broken down or that little kid who ran onto the road chasing their ball.

From what I've read current autonomous cars feel like being in a car with an overly cautious driver and I expect that trend to continue.

Private ownership of vehicles will end

This isn't really my theory, I stole it from a talk by Paul Fenwick.

If you buy a self-driving car and it drops you off at work in the morning, why pay for parking in the city? why even drive it home and park it there? Why not put it to work doing taxi rides while you're at work? as long as it's back to pick you up in the afternoon you might as well make a profit from it while you're not using it.

But then if you extend that if your car is spending more time working as a taxi than being used by you, why not always rent a corporate-owned car when you need it and not need to deal with maintenance and insurance and such.

Cars will chain together like trucks with trailers

Achieving something between a bus and a car I can imagine cars that have tow bars on the front and the back and will link up. If four cars are going in the same general route why not link them until they need to split up, it saves on fuel. It might not quite achieve the crazy traffic mentioned above but would act much as trucks and buses do in current traffic.

My kids will never learn to driver

I don't have kids yet, but I am optimistic about timelines and I'd like to believe I'll be able to take an autonomous taxi ride within the next 10 years.

Paid parking lots will be a thing of the past

I guess this might be an obvious one, but why pay for parking at work or at the airport when you can just get the car to drop you off and drive away.

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