Google, Chrysler Team Up on Minivans; GM, Lyft Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis | MishTalk
. . . I still am forecasting a kickoff date of 2020, mostly because it is such a nice round number.
More below the fold!
Mish has some thought.
"'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.”
A General Motors spokesperson would not divulge additional details but wrote in an email that “GM continues to make progress on our previously announced plans related to an integrated on-demand autonomous network with Lyft. Similarly, we have said the Chevrolet Bolt EV is the ideal platform for ride sharing solutions. We believe electrification blends perfectly with autonomy when it comes to technology integration.'"
The one thing which will always be true about these changes is the experts will always be surprised, first by the change itself, and second by the speed of change. Once an individual has expertise in an area existential change to that area will run counter to 100% of the individuals expertise, and will not be believed by the expert. This causes them to be unreliable, and constantly behind the curve.
This happened with AT&T back in the 1980s after the breakup. AT&T was given the choice between retaining the local Bells, or long distance. AT&T chose long distance because the experts knew that in the past long distance was a cash cow, while the baby Bells were highly regulated steady state utilities. This choice was based on the understanding that long distance lines were expensive to install and no other businesses would be willing to lay expensive copper cable so the long distance monopoly would remain.
The experts at AT&T were wrong, long distance was not the cash cow. Fiber optic cable was laid not to capture the voice market but to capture the data market which was just beginning to flourish. AT&T held on to its copper lines, while the new providers moved to high speed data. Because voice used so little bandwidth on fiber optic cables, the new providers offered to carry the baby Bells long distance voice for nearly nothing, and later extended this to cell phones. The result was AT&T was financially destroyed.
Experts are only expert until the existential change, then their expertise is a negative since they see everything through the lens of the old paradigm.
Expect the automotive, transportation, and transit experts to be wrong about everything from here on out.
Self driving trains?
"Deutsche Bahn, the German government-owned rail system that manages travel throughout the country, is planning to add autonomous vehicles to its system with the goal of offering seamless door-to-door transit.
As Deutsche Bahn’s CEO Reedier Grube explained to the German publication WirtschaftsWoche, the system already markets trains as a good alternative to driving because they help passengers use time more effectively. “If in the future autonomous cars can do this, then the operators of these cars can claim the same about their services. That’s why we will have to add autonomously driving cars to our offering.”
The railway operator has been discussing using self-driving cars internally for some time. A strategy document for Deutsche Bahn touts the importance of “multimodal mobility” and “end-to-end service,” and it specifically points to autonomous vehicles as part of an “integrated land transport system.'"
This has been a no brainer for more than a decade, yet the rail systems of the world have not taken action. In part, this is because of the rail unions and the idiotic union work rules which commonly force the use of too many workers. These rules will either change or rail even freight rail will decline.
It is impossible to believe that European passenger rail will continue to exist after the implementation of the self drive car. Rail is one of the least efficient ways to move humans, it is not door-to-door, and it uses extremely heavy vehicles to move light passengers. While the self drive car does solve the door-to-rail, and rail-to-door problem, the rail travel itself is extremely costly, and is only competitive if subsidized. It seems much more likely that fast comfortable self drive auto transportation will ultimately replace heavy, fixed, and inefficient rail.
The US has the worlds best rail system, because it hauls freight, not people. Europe would do well to allow its rail to modernize away from hauling only humans. We shall see.
If Europe does not allow this modernization, America will continue to accelerate, economically away from Europe at an ever increasing rate.