It has been rumoured that the big company with a bite out of their logo is gathering together like minded people to build a self driving electric car. I personally can’t wait for a world with self driving cars, but electric? I’m not against the idea of electric cars, but they have yet to prove to me that they are a mature technology.
I’ve blogged in the past, and made reference to physics texts, that explain the difference in stored energy when comparing Gasoline to any battery technology. If the world is serious about going green, a new power source is going to have to be created.
I’ve spoken to Tesla owners and they are over the moon about their investments and their ability to thumb their noses at the gas companies. After the initial sales pitch however, they will all tell you about the lack of charging infrastructure and what they do while they are waiting for their car to charge.
If you’re retired, like the one owner who goes to my church, wait times are no big deal. The man in question was bragging that he went from Ottawa to Sarnia to visit his grand kids and it didn’t cost him a cent in gas. When I asked him about the duration of the trip however, the truth came out.
I would like to be able to get around without having to buy gas for my car, I would like to power my house from off-grid renewable energy, I would like to have a car that doesn’t pollute the air I breath and I would like to win the lottery. At this point in my life however, winning the lottery probably has the highest odds of happening.
On the Blue Sky: Using silicon sand-witched and perforated graphene layers to increase capacity and charge rates. Perhaps coupled with small community owned thorium reactors and molten salt batteries for better distribution of power generation.
For me, the most exciting element of the self-driving vehicles is better utilization. My vehicle is an empty container 92% of its life. If the car was better scheduled and perhaps offered as a service similar to Zip Car, maybe we can develop systems to drive higher utilization while lowering the quantity needed overall.
As long as I had reliable, clean and safe transportation I could simple schedule my trips better. I grew up in a city that had robust public transit, it is a lifestyle I miss.
I think we need city interlinks (subterranean channels that carry HVDC power lines and fiber optic cable with high speed electric trains running over top). These interlinks support the intercity transport of goods and people. Intracity/community transit would be self-driving; hive minded transport systems. Nodes would connect the two systems and serve as traffic copes to help manage load. If a particular node was low on local transport it could send the train to a lower utilization node.
This is not much different than a bus/train station; except for trying to leverage as many parallel use as possible; coupled with self governing traffic management.