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Old 11-16-2017, 04:24 AM   #1
DieselFumes
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Default Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

Posting this in "The Competition" because it's competition to all privately owned vehicles.

Bob Lutz (who was head of product development at GM, also at Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Opel) just wrote an opinion piece about the future of transportation for Automotive News.

Quote:
Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.

The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you'll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.

On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn't matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation.
Nothing particularly new there, except that he goes into the implications for the industry, for individuals, and for communities.

Quote:
The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years at the latest human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.
And this change won't be driven by personal preference, but rather by big players.

Quote:
we don't need public acceptance of autonomous vehicles at first. All we need is acceptance by the big fleets: Uber, Lyft, FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, utility companies, delivery services. Amazon will probably buy a slew of them. These fleet owners will account for several million vehicles a year. Every few months they will order 100,000 low-end modules, 100,000 medium and 100,000 high-end. The low-cost provider that delivers the specification will get the business.
And it's the end of manufacturer differentiation.

Quote:
But the performance will be the same for all because nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway. That is the death knell for companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. That kind of performance is not going to count anymore.
It's a short and interesting read.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

As a software developer, the hype about autonomous cars reminds me of the hype about tablet computers in 1994. Touchscreen devices were going to be huge, but their general availability was off by at least 15 years. One of the great things about cloud computing is that any server can fail and be easily replaced, often automatically through monitoring software. That can't be said for a car driving you to a location. A car is not a virtual machine -- it is a physical piece of hardware that can get into accidents (often through the fault of other vehicles) and needs to avoid running out of battery.

Near term, one question is whether a fully electric van would be a suitable campervan replacement for a Diesel Sprinter. The range is often too short (around 100 miles) and the energy density for even Lithium batteries is a fraction of Diesel if you need to burn it for heat in the winter with an Espar heater. After having driven my Sprinter to Alaska, I wouldn't want to do that with an electric vehicle and it would be laughable to imagine what an autonomous vehicle would do trying to navigate the construction on the Alcan.

The car industry is in for a lot of change but the campervan conversion market is a tiny piece and will be an edge case for most of the autonomous vehicle technology.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi... gas stations, tire stores, auto parts, bus and light rail systems, auto insurance, car toys, distribution centers.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

get an old classic hobby car NOW. Also, I think it will be many decades before there is universal ban on private ownership of vehicles. There may be certain ROADS when manually driving is prohibited (driverless cars only) in the very near future, though.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

Anyone who has serious interest in this topic should check out the book "Magic Motorways", written in 1940 by Norman Bel-Geddes, coming out of his work on the GM Futurama exhibit for the 1939 NY Worlds Fair.

https://www.amazon.com/Magic-motorwa.../dp/B0000D5JHY

You can download it for free here:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...gcUH9LNBREHcnq

Here are some teaser pages:

Untitled 4.png

Untitled 5.jpg

Untitled 6.png

EDIT:
Oops, forget the best part:

Untitled 7.png
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Last edited by avanti; 11-16-2017 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by surlyoldbill View Post
get an old classic hobby car NOW. Also, I think it will be many decades before there is universal ban on private ownership of vehicles. There may be certain ROADS when manually driving is prohibited (driverless cars only) in the very near future, though.
Agree. Instead of old classic I bought a new manual transmission 2017 Porsche Boxster. Was afraid a manual transmission car would not be available in the near future so bought one now. At my age I suspect I have the rest of my driving days covered with a real car. Porsche has too many high tech features and nannies to think for you. Older cars are much simpler and more desirable in that regard.

Autonomous vehicles are for people that just want to get from point A to point B. I enjoy driving too much to accept that method. Boring. Why go anywhere if you can not drive?
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

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Originally Posted by Graphite Dave View Post
Autonomous vehicles are for people that just want to get from point A to point B. I enjoy driving too much to accept that method. Boring. Why go anywhere if you can not drive?
Don't worry. The VR driving simulation games will soon be indistinguishable from reality. You could even install one in your self-driving car.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

Ahhh... i remember going to an auto show in 1958 where they featured the GM Firebird II family car.

FirebirdII.jpg

Among its features (requiring cooperating infrastructure) was the capability to (wirelessly) connect to a wire-guided highway.
You'd drive yourself from home to freeway (using a twistable joystick instead of a steering wheel... (now found in aircraft... the Airbus side-stick)), then talk to people in a "control tower" who'd take your destination and feed it into the system. For the rest of the highway portion, it was an externally-controlled, self-driving car. You'd take over manual control as you left the freeway.

--dick
p.s. of course, we all remember:



Well... there's been an update:

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Old 11-18-2017, 04:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

Eh, mostly hype at this point. The investment required to create such an infrastructure is beyond astonishing.

Too much of the world, the USA included, is very rural and low population density.

In places where the population density is high enough to make this kind of thing a necessity (and economically viable) the better option is mass transit via train, Automated bus, and subway systems.

Now, private car ownership? That will start dropping off fairly quickly in many areas. Take a look at Singapore. Car sharing, automated driving, etc will drop this off. It makes perfect sense. Most of the time your car just sits, doing nothing but taking up space. If we want to have a first world standard of living for more humans, we will need to more efficiently utilize our resources. One way is to maximize usage of high energy/complexity devices (like cars).

The real change will happen when fossil fuels become priced at their true cost. Currently they are sold at their extraction and refinement cost. NOT their replacement and environmental cost. What does it cost to make fuel when you can't just pump the raw material out of the ground? The answer, a hell of a lot more.

Once that happens, unless renewables have gotten crazy cheap, we will see a huge shift towards efficient shared/managed public/semipublic transit. The driver? Cost. In the short term people can be trusted to do whats in their best financial interest to a certain degree.
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Old 11-18-2017, 02:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Your next vehicle might be the last one you (can) buy

I found it interesting that the Google ad at the top of the page when I was reading this thread was for Ram Trucks. The ad said "Ram Trucks, Featuring the largest available touch screen radio in its class". Does anyone else remember when Dodge truck commercials showed a truck being dropped from a crane?

I agree with all of you that have said that the major changes in our transportation system are still many years away. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the automotive industry has changed dramatically in the last few years. We are now marketing vehicles for their infotainment systems and electronic gadgetry. That's what the market currently wants. It's not a far stretch to think that the complete automation of the driving experience could be next.
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