Self-driving cars can help us re-imagine our world.
In 2014 Dr. Bran Ferren, a polymath inventor hypothesized in a TED Talk that the driverless car will be the next Pantheon. Driverless cars will allow people to devote capital toward other endeavors.
During his speech, Dr. Ferren said, “Pantheons inspire simply by seeing and experiencing them.” The Pantheon combined art and engineering to create an extraordinary building that required less overall capital than other buildings its size. The original structure still inspires today, and it was built over 2000 years ago.
What do other people think?
Kevin Roose of the New York Times wrote an article on October 31st, 2017 about Waymo, which is a division of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The title of the article is, “In Self-Driving Race, Waymo Sets Its Own Terms.”
After taking a test drive in a Waymo car we learn that “it encircled a roundabout, waited patiently for pedestrians to cross the street, and dodged traffic cones and bicyclists with ease. It felt slick and polished, and gave the sense that it might be ready for public consumption very soon.” The hollow city Waymo has created on an abandoned air force base even includes potholes.
Waymo is not in this venture alone. Kevin writes about the many companies who are competing to be the first success story in this new frontier. “Ford, which has partnered with Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Pittsburgh, plans to put Level 4 autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021.”
How close are we to having driverless cars?
We are very close to having a world of fully automated cars. Waymo is in the lead with level 4 autonomy, which no other company has yet. This means that the car is completely free from needing human interaction.
Regardless of who is first this is very exciting news for the future. People will be able to use the time and energy normally needed to operate vehicles and apply this to more useful endeavors.