Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 5 of 6)

This is a continuation of my thoughts on where we are headed with driverless cars. I would recommend reading this series from part 1.

Previously we discussed how will driverless cars change our environment. In this post, I wanted to provide some my thoughts on who will have the biggest impact in this market.

There are a lot of players in this market – Google, Tesla, Uber, and the automotive manufacturers. IMHO, those with the biggest impact will need the following infrastructural items to win:

  • The safest driving models
  • High-density batteries
  • Parking and car servicing network
  • Efficient procurement of vehicles
  • Efficient deployment vehicles to satisfy demand
  • Partnerships with municipalities
  • Labor and rural focused solutions

Continue reading “Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 5 of 6)”

Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 4 of 6)

This is a continuation of my thoughts on where we are headed with driverless cars. I would recommend reading this series from part 1.

Previously, we discussed “How does ride-hailing fit into all of this?” In this post, I wanted to provide some my thoughts on how driverless technologies will change our cities, towns and other urban environments.

How will driverless cars change our environment?

With driverless technologies the amount of space between cars when driving can be significantly reduced. Automated  reactions to what is in front of a vehicle mean that vehicles don’t need as much empty space between one another when commuting.This means more cars could proceed through a single green light, drive in a single lane on highways and roads, and overall provide better throughput in our transportation infrastructure. As a result of these changes the way cities evolve will change quite dramatically.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 4 of 6)”

Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 3 of 6)

This is a continuation of my thoughts on where we are headed with driverless cars. I would recommend reading this series from part 1.

Previously we discussed “How to manage surges in ridership demand?” In this post, I wanted to provide some my thoughts on how ride-hailing fits and driverless technologies will work together. Both are disruptive and symbiotic technologies, so there is a lot here to discuss.

How does ride-hailing fit into all of this?

As shared CapEx and OpEx models proliferate, ride-hailing will become the primary means for letting the transit infrastructure know where you are and where you plan to go. While uber and Lyft may argue this point – technologically, sending your location, and your desired destination to a fleet operator is not a hard application to develop. The primary problem comes down to the following:

  • Building the supply to support the transit infrastructure
  • Ensuring the ride is safe and trustworthy (this includes the ML algorithm supporting the driverless behavior, and the route taken)
  • The cost of the ride
  • The time it takes for the ride to commence and complete
  • The experience of the ride (this also include brand and brand loyalty)

I assume that anyone operating providing a ride-hailing service has the capital or network to provide the appropriate supply (public transit, OEMs, or fleet operators who organize privately owned vehicles).

I also assume that with driverless vehicles the costs of transit will drop by over 80%, and a highly competitive market, there will be a fast race to 0, just as we’re seeing with computer storage.

Lastly, I assume that routing methods and algorithms have become quite prevalent, and while there is some interesting work going on with efficient pooling routing models, the basic routing models will negate the time difference in a vehicle’s ability to get from point A to point B.

The biggest factors on which company users hail will come down to:

  • safety and trustworthiness of the ride
  • availability of the fleet to commence a ride
  • and the experience of the ride

Continue reading “Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 3 of 6)”

Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 2 of 6)

This is a continuation of my thoughts on where we are headed with driverless cars. I would recommend reading this series from part 1.

Previously we discussed “What will the driverless fleet look like and how we will use it?” In this post, I wanted to provide some my thoughts on managing surges.

Managing surges

Many urban planners have to think through how to manage transportation veins to handle the mass transit that occurs on regular basis. To assume that these veins because of driverless cars are going away is misleading. Transportation demands’ peaks and troughs will continue.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 2 of 6)”

Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 1 of 6)

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I can’t believe it was ~6 months ago, when Elon Musk posted his second master plan for Tesla, but since then I’ve been ruminating about who is going to win in this market. I thought I should share my thoughts.

Before doing so, I think it’s important to state that this vision is based on a lot of assumptions, so its best to see if you agree with these assumptions, before adopting my prescriptions. These assumptions include, but are not limited to:

  • The primary method of driving will be autonomous/driverless
    • A highly disputed assumption
  • Vehicles will be primarily electrically powered

I’m a strong believer in testing your assumptions before building any sort of effort towards a solution so I would suggest everyone to take these thoughts with significant grains of salt, as they have not been tested, and are often disputed.

Given those assumptions, I’ve broken my vision of the future driverless world into a couple of parts:

  • What will the driverless fleet look like and how we will use it?
  • How to manage surges in ridership demand?
  • How does ride-hailing fit into all of this?
  • How will it change urban planning?
  • Who or what will have the biggest impact in this market?
  • How will regulation have to adapt to this?

Continue reading “Thoughts on Driverless Cars (part 1 of 6)”