CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

The End of Driving

One way to resolve the distracted driving issue is to simply remove the driving part from the equation. The industrial design firm of Mike and Maaike has been theorizing just that in their “Autonomobile.”

This line stood out for me in their brief:

Most cars can go 120 mph yet they are mostly used at moderate speeds and sitting in traffic. It’s time to look at performance in a new way. Dismissing the need for extreme MPH and acceleration as irrelevant, ATNMBL proposes a new standard of performance: one of time-saving, quality of life, and increased exploration. Freed from the monotony of driving, we can enjoy quality time while in transit: socializing, gaming, movies, business, videocalls, web surfing, sleeping or discovering new places with powerful voice controlled search and navigation.

(Horn honk to Dave)

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 2:56 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “The End of Driving”

  1. noah Says:

    they already have this where i live. it’s called a taxi.

  2. Adam Says:

    Here in Seoul we call it public transport.

  3. David W Says:

    I ride a bicycle but next month I will be getting a Velomobile Quest.

  4. fred_dot_u Says:

    David W, will that be a canadian built Quest velomobile, or an overseas version? It’s exciting news in the world of velomobile operators that Ray M. is going to be producing the Quest on this continent and at a very competitive price!

  5. Dave Hunt Says:

    Thanks for the props Tom! :)

  6. Mark Young Says:

    We’re not so far from this in terms of technological progress, but I reckon it’ll be a while before humans are out of the loop completely – the biggest problem being whether it’s reliable enough to not be supervised by a human. And until that day, we have to leave the human drivers with something substantial to do, otherwise a different problem to distraction occurs – underload.

    We’ve seen design exercises like this before, but what’s interesting is how the timeframe is compressing – one of the early inspirations for my PhD was a concept car to celebrate 100 years of the automobile, back in 1996. At that time, they looked forward 100 years to come up with Concept 2096 (the best link for which I can find is http://www.bmiht.co.uk/catalogue/bmiht_item.php?id=2004~12~3533~001). It doesn’t look a million miles different from Mike and Maaike’s concept – except the idea’s been brought forward 50 years…

  7. Marc Says:

    This whole thing is a complete fantasy. Yes, we may be getting close to having autopilot for cars, but I doubt we’ll ever take the driver out of the driver’s seat. Just look at planes. Theoretically it is possible for a plane to take off, fly, and land entirely on autopilot. Yet does anyone REALLY want to fly in a pilotless plane?

    About the only driverless vehicles I’m aware of are some subway and monorail systems that are 100% automated, with the vehicles controlled via computer or remotely from a control room. But those are on a fixed track. All roads are utter chaos by comparison. Maybe a computer could take over driving 90% of the time, but I’d sure want a driver ready to take over when the alarms start blaring because the car’s computer decided to pull a Windows and crash.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

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Metropolis and Mobile Life
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