Sunday, July 02, 2017

Why Do I Care About Self-Driving Cars?

Sure there's a "somebody on the internet is wrong" aspect to it, and I got posts to write, but otherwise I care about people making policy decisions based on technology which isn't here and in my opinion will never be here. People who hate mass transit always oppose it, and self-driving cars provide them with just another reason. Before self-driving cars, mass transit haters babbled on about "PRT" which was basically self-driving cars on rail, and if you ignored all the obvious costs, the opposition to rail footprint, and the lack of capacity, PRTs were an awesome idea much beloved by people who would never step foot in a PRT.

Life is better in places that are not built around needing automobiles, or their equivalent, for every single daily trip. You don't need to live in Manhattan or Paris, or even Philadelphia, or for everyone to live in 200 sq. ft apartments, to realize the dream that basically every European town/small city achieves. People spend lots of money on vacations to "quaint" places where people can walk to the corner and buy a baguette or a fish to cook for dinner, not realizing that these "quaint" places are not Disneytowns, but pretty much normal places (not all are beautiful, but the lifestyle is similar) for lots of people. Cars we shall always have with us, and even in these places people generally have them (they just don't need them for every single trip), but it's dumb to plan for a future of robot cars when they probably won't even exist anytime soon. They're big, they take up space, and your corner baguette shop can't exist if it has to be surrounded by a giant parking lot.

And, never fear, car lovers. Your paradise has been built for 60+ years. I am probably not going to be able to take that away from you.