Sunday, June 25, 2017

Life beyond trains....

"No more traffic jams, no more DUI arrests, no more texting while driving issues, just the comfort of a car taking you where ever you need to go. The future belongs to the prepared Met Council. And your Thrive 2040 is not in sync with a rapidly approaching future."

I have been doing quite a bit of mulling as of late. I have been reading different tech blogs. And I have listened to an interesting podcast. On what? On the future. Specifically the future of transportation. One of the things I have learned is that our beloved Met Council, who is mysteriously in charge of our transportation needs in the Twin Cities, might have it all wrong.

Maybe in the their short time remaining until we elect a true conservative Governor, the Met Council should add one more position - a futurist. Why do I say that? He (or she) could tell this bunch of bureaucrats they are barking up the wrong tree with their choo-choo trains. That is not our future. Sorry folks - it is not the cars we are driving either. The future will belong to the "driver-less" auto-cars being developed by Google and other tech giants.

One article I read said that humans are very lousy drivers compared to the robot technology which will be guiding these small, yet comfortable auto-cars. If you are going to work, you will have it programmed with the auto-car company you are dealing with that an auto-car will pick you up at your house at (as an example) 7:01 am. Your drive to work will always take the same amount of time (unless we are getting a foot of snow at the time), the the auto-car will drop you off at the front door of where you work - and then leave.

You program from your smart phone what time you need to get picked up from work. Another auto-car will be at the door waiting to pick you up and take you home. While the auto-car is driving, you may read, talk on the phone, do social media, or nap. Once you arrive home, the auto-car is off to another task with another customer. 

Why are these auto-cars better than trains? For starters, cost. No tracks needed, no upkeep, no right of way traffic jams. Whereas trains travel on a fixed route based with a set schedule, auto-cars are anywhere, at any time. They will be battery powered, and very "green". Every month, the auto-car company you deal with will send you a bill for how much you used the auto-car service that month. All maintenance, upkeep, storage, and insurance will be paid for by the auto-car company.

What I found interesting about the research I was doing, is the timing. This is not 100 years in the future - it is  maybe 15 - 25 years away. The prototype auto-car exists right now, but is not ready for prime time. But they will be. Thrive 2040, the bible of the Met Council mentions NOTHING about the auto-car - only choo-choo trains. And us poor taxpayers will continue to spend untold billions to build these choo-choo trains (and infrastructure) which very few will ever ride.

The future is coming, and coming fast. And do you know what the future is going to tell us? Trains are so yesterday! They were not efficient nor flexible, so they became part of the dust bin of history. Plus trains were expensive as all get out. 

I think going forward will be a very exciting leap forward for humanity. No more traffic jams, no more DUI arrests, no more texting while driving issues, just the comfort of a car taking you where ever you need to go.

The future belongs to the prepared Met Council. And your Thrive 2040 is not in sync with a rapidly approaching future.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that the public tolerance for robot accidents will be much lower than it is for human accidents. To me, that looms larger and is more challenging than the technology. A $200 super chip can drive and autonomous car. That and the constant threat of hacking by the Russians, encouraged by our President (just had to say).
    Dave Gjerdingen