I will start this post by asking you to spend an hour of your time watching this video featuring a guy you probably never heard of as he explains why the self driving electric car is just around the corner. And that all other forms of cars are d-o-o-m-e-d.
Thank me later!
[I will, however, credit @decryption for pointing me at this video through The Sizzle: a daily email of Australian flavoured tech news that I highly recommend.]
I agree, I think the guy's a way bit too optimistic (?) in his appraisal of the situation. If only because of the way he uses the case of Australian solar panels to drive his point, in contrast to my personal familiarity with the energy market in Australia. Or the fact that Germany has learnt alternative energy sources still offer no good options when it comes to heating.
No doubt your brain is now busy digesting the potential implications of these self driving electric cars the guy was talking about. These are vast: it's not just that there is no point in owning a car anymore when one can call up one at a moment's whim. Nor is it just the fact that the absence of ape driven cars (a term I first heard from Sam Harris) will see hundreds of thousands of us humans staying alive each year instead of die or find ourselves maimed through traffic accidents.
There are implications on work, for a start. Some 20%-25% of us work in driving or other vehicle/transport related jobs that would become moot once the self driving electric car prevails. From car mechanics whose skills will no longer be required to motels that will no longer find clientele once truck drivers get the chop, society will be hit by one big hammer during the next decade.
Potential social collapses aside, I found myself fantasising about another aspect. I was thinking where I would like to find myself in this near future transport fantasy, and it occurred to me what I would like the most is a self driving electric caravan.
Think about it. You climb up to your caravan as it picks you up from work on a Friday arvo in Melbourne and order it to take you to Sydney. You spend your night in the caravan, playing video games and such, stopping for dinner somewhere along the way. Then you go to bed. In your own bed.
You wake up to a nice Sydney morning, parked right next to a top cafe, but you find yourself craving warmer weather still. No fuss; the caravan will gladly take you all the way up to Byron Bay while you do not need to care less about all the traffic going in and out of Sydney.
And so on and so on. Seriously, the only caveat I see in this dream of mine is to do with the fact that modern day caravans still haven't sorted out the toilets problem: you still need to connect to external water in order to have a proper shower, and worse, you still need to manually empty your toilet if you use the one built in to your caravan (gross!). It sounds silly, I know, but it appears humanity shall have self driving electric caravans long before this plumbing problem is solved.
Allow me to therefore ignore toilet issues and point out that, under the assumption no [other] significant unforeseen hurdle lies in this dream of mine, the invention of the self driving electric car could have significant implications on the entire housing market and our very basic understanding of this thing we commonly refer to as "home".