Thursday, March 1, 2012

Autonomous Vehicles: Decepti-sons of Anarchy

There is more than one trillion dollars in value on the State legislature's desk as of March 1st, 2012. That value is no deception when you realize the potential, industrial transformation of what legislatures now call “autonomous vehicles,” or more simply known as cars that drive themselves on regular roads. Reporters at the State capitol stated that Google is one of the faces of the autonomous vehicles, and that face may seem less partisan then any of the major car manufacturers. Google demonstrated that even the non-car manufacturer can get into this potential.

Imagine the motorcycle gang of the future where they have their stylish TRON lightcycle looks with phat wheels that balance themselves in the same manner that  Segway does. I think even CHiP's would be jealous, as they look back at their TV shows where they always kept one hand on the handlebar while they pointed, with the other hand, at drivers to motion them to pull over. In high speed chases, you know they used both hands on the handlebars. How many hands would it take for even Harleyquinn to tell her autonomous motorbike to out run Batman? Or, what would the famous high speed chase be like while the Terminator held his shotgun in one hand, and now has the option for another gun in the other hand? I doubt that kind of anarchy is gonna transform anytime soon into reality.

The start of this legislation for autonomous vehicles more likely begins with specification for what roads allow (or would allow) driverless mode. I'd imagine the commuter lanes on the highway are the first target; then, the one way roads in business districts are the next target. Next, the legislation probably gets into how we can retrofit cars that already exist on the road. Some cars already have the “follow mode,” which isn't quite autonomous. Then, the legislation probably addresses union workers, as they no doubt threaten strikes, as they did over the port and dock automation. The union workers concern is loss of jobs with their robotic replacement. These three areas are probably the main topics for legislation. I say “probably” because at this date the legislation is still in discussion over the matter.

Beyond probabilities is the technology already in place and still under development that literally brings the Internet Superhighway directly onto the street and not just over the telephone wires. The car-to-car networks are already part of the plans for autonomous vehicles, yet there is less of any need for today's legislation to worry about how anybody places such technology into their vehicle. If anything, the legislation may get more involved in the discussion of security and emergency modes of car-to-car networks. They have already inquired about E911 services. I imagined autonomous vehicles that automatically move aside on the road while emergency vehicles find passage. Car-to-car networks “speak” to each other and determine the best course of action. We have seen demonstrations of multi-lane, 4-way intersections without stoplights, as the cars pace themselves automatically through the intersection.

Car-to-car networks is one thing, and car-to-traffic-signal is another. Think of the many drivers that have ran red lights due to drunkenness, sun-blinded, casual unawareness, or various distractions. Consider the many people that have fallen asleep at the wheel. Legislation probably initially targets the traffic signals on the roads that allow autonomous vehicles. Maybe the legislation should also include an autonomous vehicle requirement for narcoleptics, which could replace the prescription of methamphetamines (or speed) taken before the drive.

You probably still wonder where these trillion dollar values are gonna happen! They may trickle in by the appearance of anarchy as the car-to-car networks takeover the internet that only existed on landlines. Already, communication companies started redesign of network protocols for such change. Each no doubts want to stay in business over the present hardware. Cellphone manufactures, however, already started redesign of their hardware such that they stay compatible with these newer car-to-car networks. You can imagine that your cellphone connects to your car before it connects the cellular towers of the past. Why pay for the cost of the cellular tower connection when you only want to call your friend down the road? Cellular towers do not offer such higher security by such car-to-car proximity.

Imagine the use of your cellphone for valet! Imagine that the ridiculous mode where people find the last space in the lot around the mall become the thing of the past. More people may enjoy the trip to the mall, and that is more business for the malls! Imagine the autonomous vehicle that drives to the gas station while you are at work or at the store, as that feature makes fuel-cell vehicles and electric cars more convenient despite their lower distance range.

Maybe the legislation could include upgrade of all pizza delivery vehicles. You insert your credit card into the vehicle and it hands you your pizza.

Already there are cars that allow timeshare devices. This is rumors that the cars drive themselves to the next timershare destination. Taxi drivers may be just as concerned as the union workers.

The main thing to note about cars beyond imagination is that they are mobile, so the car-to-car networks are mobile. Think of the potential bandwidth around arenas, malls, stadiums, and schools when those car lots are full with active car networks. More cars available nearby means more bandwidth available. That mobility of the networks is what guarantees “flow” of currencies. More currency available means more potential money transaction. That flow is what supports the trillion dollar value more than the value of the vehicles themselves.

This legislation has started that flow such that these venues and values are not just mere imagination anymore. The parcel delivery service surely has their interest, especially after today, beyond ports and docks. News reporters also noted desires for alternative to trains that run through cities.

Now, just imagine the startups over augmented reality devices, like the ones for your cellphone yet now for your car! The potential for car-to-car games is one thing, yet more practical is the use of augmented reality for tours in timeshare-vehicles.