We know that fully autonomous cars will be available soon, and in some instances they’re already here. Google has hinted it could have the technology on the market within the next few years, while Nissan has announced it will have a self-driving car available by 2020.
In a blog post from LinkedIn’s Let’s Fix It series and republished by Time.com, Sam Shank, CEO and co-founder of the mobile app HotelTonight, went as far as declaring that “roughly 10 years from now we will see the end of human driving.” Shank’s bold pronouncement on the death of human driving is a bit premature in our opinion.
And also not very well founded since Shank cites only a 2013 Wall Street Journal article and Tesla’s recent announcement that it will add an Autopilot feature to the Model S as the foundation for his prediction. This and the fact that autonomous-driving technology is a subject he has “thought about deeply for the past 20 years.”
At C3’s Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel event earlier this week, participants in a panel discussion titled “What We’ll Drive in the Future, or What Will Drive Us” gave a different view of how autonomous vehicles will fit into personal transportation in the years to come.
While several panelists corroborated some of Shank’s observations – Dmitri Dolgov, software lead for Google’s self-driving car division, noted how cities could be drastically altered by the advent of completely autonomous cars, while John Suh, executive director of Hyundai Ventures, discussed societal changes that will occur due to the technology – the overall consensus was that individual car ownership will have a place in the future.
Rich Steinberg, CEO of BMW’s DriveNow EV car-sharing service, summed it up best by pointing out that people will have a range of options to get where they’re going depending on their location, situation, and destination. This will include car- and ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles, driving yourself and “multi-modal” transportation that includes all of the above as well as public transit.
Shank also contradicts his “end of human driving” stance by adding that he’ll “probably teach [his kids to drive] anyway, as recreational driving is fun and won’t ever go away, any more than automobiles put an end to recreational horse riding.”
And in doing so acknowledges that people won’t quit driving entirely, and that the car won’t be completely put out to pasture.
Source: The Death of Human Driving Has Been Greatly Exaggerated – PCMag.com