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Self-driving cars are coming, but not the end of POVs

Posted by John T. Reed on

I have been studying autonomous cars, reading books about them, attending speeches and panel discussions about them. They are often talked about in the same speeches with EVs and linked together.

 

I have no idea what that linkage is about. EVs are Democrat propaganda, like masks. Moving CO from the tailpipe or a POV to a coal-fired power plant means little. EVs have to be crammed down our throats with mandates and subsidized by tax payers because they offer very little in the way of a value proposition.

 

Self-driving vehicles, in contrast, are revolutionary, make sense and may be forced not by politicians, but by trial lawyers. Cars driven by humans kill 39,000 a year. Self-driving cars will kill about 100 people year when the kinks are eventually worked out. Trial lawyers will start suing human drivers for not having used a self-driving car, especially owners of corporate vehicles.

 

Many reflexively dismiss self-driving vehicles as way out in the future. I do not think those people have data on that. They are just assuming it is really different therefore it must take a long time. Bull.

 

We already have alternatives to the self-driven car that save tens of thousands of lives per year: airplanes and trains. Planes have auto-pilot for much of their trips. Train have always had auto steer. All that need be added is automatic speed control including automatic braking.

 

There are also many self-driving drones in the air and robots on ground. And there are many self-driving cars and trucks on the roads already. Fraidy-cat bureaucrats are retarding the spread of them.

 

Tesla has recklessly encouraged putting their cars on auto-pilot with a half dozen or so disastrous results. But how many Tesla owners have gotten away with it. And how much better are a half dozen fatalities over as many years than 39,000 of them a year.

 

There is one aspect of the-self-driving car that I think is nuts. The idea that we will stop owning cars as a result. We already have people who live in urban areas who choose not to own a car. My middle son did it for a year or so when he worked in Manhattan and lived in Brooklyn’s DUMBY neighborhood. He now lives in Jersey City and has a mostly parked-in-his-assigned-condo-space car he inherited from my late sister-in-law.

 

We have also had ZIP cars for some time. You get to use them tu you do not own them. They are parked strategically around town. I have never used them but spent some time at a 13-Saturdays class with a woman who had just gotten fed up with them and bought a car of her own again.

 

We have cabs. Ubers and Lyft a lot. The latter two are headquartered and founded in my local Big City: San Francisco. My wife uses them a lot and therefore so do I when I am with her. I like them but them sometime do not work. They are having trouble with many regulators and some nations entirely. And they have never made a profit and never will. Their business model is not viable. They cannot now figure out how to get rider to pay more or driver/owners to charge less. They have been “buying the business” for years; also known as selling dollar bills for 90¢. Easy to grow and be popular doing that but there is a limit to how long venture capitalists will but up with that. It is a surprisingly high limit, but it is there.t, but it is there.

 

I know. Uber and Lyft are trying to get rid of the drivers and operate all self-driving vehicles.

 

Uh, has it occurred to them how radically different of a business model that is. Now, they are a match-making service. The driver own, maintain, insure, and operate the cars. Like a billion dollars worth of capital cost and maybe a billion more in maintenance and insurance premiums.

 

And what about surge pricing? The great improvement over taxis is Uber and Lfyt surge more cars and drivers when demand increases in inclement weather and at rush hour. How are you going to do that when you own all the cars? The only surging Uber and Lyft are going to do is called parking a $30,000 car until it rains or rush hour and paying interest and aging on it while it is parked. Those are the economics of power plants that can only charge for juice used but who have to maintain the capacity to produce peak juice. Those are ugly economics. You have to figure out a way to get the customers to pay for the cost of idle parked cars that  the customers are not currently using.

 

And who need to Uber and Lyft to provide self-driving ride sharing? Sound more like Hertz or Avis. They have been operating and maintaining driverless huge fleets of vehicles for decades. Or how about GM and Toyota provide self-driving vehicles? They have dealers and service departments in in all the cities. Uber and Lyft would have to create that from scratch.

 

But here is the main thing. Poor people have to put up with the liberals’ favorite transport method: mass transit. Have you ever used mass transit? It sucks. It is filthy, diseased, crime ridden, broken, vandalized, overcrowded, pick-pocket-ridden, noisy, poorly maintained, often broken down and stopped with passengers, graffiti covered.

 

I has to take city busses home from to my Russian Hill fabulous view apartment in the San Francisco financial district for a time. Once a grossly obese minority woman with extreme body odor squeezed up against me and my favorite three-piece wool suit. When I stepped into our luxury apartment, my wife who was at the other end of the living room said, “You stink!” I had to send the suit to the dry cleaners just for that one bus ride.

 

So that person will not be in the self-driving car at the same time as me, but what’s to stop them from being in it before me? Or maybe teenagers or homeless who think it’s funny to urinate in the cars or vandalize them or defecate in them.

 

Like I said poor people have to put up with mass transit and probably with mass used self-driving driving  cars that are as abused as mass transit. But more affluent people do not and would not put up with that. We will own or own self-driving cars. We may own fewer. For example, at present, my wife, two sons, and a daughter-in-law own five cars, but we live within 20 minutes of each other. If we shared one or more self-driving cars, we could get into a rhythm of using that efficiently for different needs during a normal day. So we might get rid of one of the five cars, or maybe two.

 

Also, affluent people think differently than poor people. Affluent people do not have to do without X to have Y. They can afford both. If they want both, they buy both, even though it would be cheaper to do without one. My wife and I would likely choose to have two self-driving cars and leave them parked as now. Would that be expensive? Yes but we can afford it as evidenced by our doing it like that now. Having to share a car with stranger would be out of the question. We might be willing to share with family members or friends. You may see complementary pairs of people sharing one car like a 9-to-5 worker and bar tender who use their car at different times of the week and day. You may see-car pool size arrangements where only a car-pool size group with complementary transportation needs owns and uses the one car.

 

Use of one car buy strangers would require that a human or rather high-powered robot inspect the car after each ride and be able to charge a credit card for any damage and end the rider’s sharing privileges if they do not behave. No one pushing the end of car ownership due to self-drive cars addresses that issue. They’re nuts


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