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self driving = extending independence

self driving = extending independence

I'll probably be 66 when I take delivery of my Model 3 (reserved sight unseen on the 31st of March at the Bethesda, Maryland location). I'm really looking forward to getting the auto driving feature with the car although I understand it a) won't be immediatly ready (a year or so), and b) may be some time before it will be technically legal to use given state laws, etc.

My dad loved to take long driving trips. I think he visited all of the lower 48 states at one time or another. He drove into his early 70's when he had to give up his keys due to eye-sight issues. From that time forward he spent more and more time at home. He really enjoyed the occasions when I or other family members would take him for a ride in the country. Two weeks before he passed I took him on a drive through upper Montgomery County to Frederick where we discovered a great Italian restaurant. On the way there he tried to describe where we were based on the sounds. He new that we were crossing over the Monocacy River from the sound of the bridge pavement. How many more years of independence would he have had if the self-driving technology had been available? I'm hoping that I'll be able to drive well into my eighties (should I live so long). I'd like to hear from other baby-boomers how you think (if you indeed do) your lives will be impacted.

Younger drivers are definitely welcome to contribute.

Red Sage ca us | 30. Oktober 2016

I'm a couple of years shy of being a 'baby boomer', but I certainly agree. Two years ago when I saw the Google Car, this was exactly what came to mind for me. The blind man who could go wherever he needed to without a driver or assistant really made it clear. Independence helps to aid the liveliness of those who are ill. I used to drive a Cousin to multiple locations and he always looked forward to being out of his wheelchair and getting back his prosthetic legs. Because he wanted to DRIVE!

EaglesPDX | 30. Oktober 2016

Not sure there's a big difference between a self driving cab and a driver cab. Driver cab sounds more useful and helpful. Driver can help stow wheelchair, load groceries, help with seating. We have hand controls for vehicles for those with leg issues.

Biggest benefit for autonomous cars is in traffic density and speed. Google project manager noted that with autonomous cars controlling the traffic flow we could get something like four times the density and and 50% speed increase. We've really run out of the room to simply add or expand roads.

Along with mass transit, autonomous cars are a way to accommodate growth.

jamilworm | 30. Oktober 2016

@Eagles there are many benefits of autonomous cars. This thread was supposed to focus on one of them - extending indpendence. There is no need to rank the other benefits relative to that one.

I think that a self-driving car would be better than a driven cab for a number of reasons:
1. I think there is a big emotional difference if you don't need another person to help you get around. I mean basically that's the definition of independence.
2. Hiring a driven car would be super expensive because you are paying for someone else's time.
3. One might feel bad making a friend or relative drive them around, even if that person is completely willing to help. There is also the chance that no friend or relative is available for a particular excursion.

I am still pretty young and this issue is (hopefully) a ways off for me, but I can empathize. I am sure there are even more differences that I am not thinking of at this time.

SamO | 30. Oktober 2016

@Goodman.Larry,

Our access to the world will be altered for the positive with cheap access to transportation for nearly every citizen on the globe.

That's true for the elderly, disabled, children, poor . . . we will all be able to access wherever necessary to conduct all the activities of our lives.

Everyone is getting richer, smarter and better looking.

Red Sage ca us | 30. Oktober 2016

jamilworm: +42! Precisely! The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything about "What Exactly Can Autonomous Cars Do to Extend Independence and for Whom?" Thank you!

I had a knee injury nearly 17 years ago that slowed me down considerably. I can no longer run as fast. I can't stop as quickly. Changing direction takes nearly eight steps more than used to be necessary. It is highly advised that I do NOT jump at all. But, it seems I can still walk pretty much FOREVER. Compared to those first few weeks sitting on the couch with my leg propped up with pillows, that is a tremendous improvement and I enjoy the level of independence it allows me. I just have to give up my two favorite sports: Basketball and Volleyball, but I can still do just about anything else under the sun better than 90+% of guys my age.

Sure, it's sad that I can no longer run circles around typical 17-year-olds. Now I'm about the same speed as a typical 17-year-old. You know what? Typical 17-year-olds are SLOW.

EaglesPDX | 30. Oktober 2016

@SamO "Our access to the world will be altered for the positive with cheap access to transportation for nearly every citizen on the globe."

The gasoline car certainly did that. EV cars are not going to change it much. As to Autonomous EV's, as Tesla is demonstrating, they are going to be expensive so idea of elderaly, disabled etc. running around in their AutoEV's is not real, Those people will need public transportation such as cabs, buses and rail. AutoEV's will be for the wealthier citizens.

Where Autonomous helps is in increasing density and speed using current roads. Several good TED talks on it

akgolf | 30. Oktober 2016

Tech always goes down in cost. It will be pricy at first, but at least someone is helping to make it a reality and bring down the cost.

And if you can't afford it, don't activate it. Problem solved.

EaglesPDX | 30. Oktober 2016

@jsimpsonalaska "Tech always goes down in cost."

Cars are tech and they've gone up in price. Higher tech cars, much higher prices. EV taxis, EV buses, electric trains are the way to provide transport for elderly and disabled. That's not really the benefit of autonomous driving.

When you listen to the experts it is safety, density and speed, important issues with a growing population.

akgolf | 30. Oktober 2016

Sorry you can't get to electronics, cameras, computers from my reference to tech, some of the components that make up the current crop of cars. Those have always gotten better and cheaper.

WormtownKris | 30. Oktober 2016

@Goodman.Larry
I am 45, so I am not attempting to hijack this thread, but I thought I'd share my perspective on this....My Pepere drove until he was ~85. Those last 5 years were very nerve-wracking to the family, as he drove about 25mph on the main roads and complained about impatient drivers honking at him; "touch parked"; and regaled us with stories about rolling thru red lights when his foot slipped off the pedal, or worse, when "the brake pedal didn't work". I was still a "kid" but I started hoping way back in my 20s that by the time I got older, I would have self-driving cars at my disposal so that I wouldn't be "that slow Grandpa" clogging up traffic and driving like Mr Magoo.
Fortunately for us, that self-driving era is now only a couple of years away. So even though my independence should not rely upon self driving for a long time, I rejoiced along with you as this became a pending reality. It is further off in the horizon for me, but I honestly take solace in knowing that when I can no longer see well at night, or can no longer keep pace with highway traffic, my car will do that for me, and I can blend in and stay on the roads.
I agree with other posters that hiring a driver or relying on a friend or relative to chauffeur me around would not be pleasant options. So while I might not pay for full AP from day 1, I most certainly cherish having that option available in the future.
Congrats, Larry. You made the cut, and you will be able to live a very long and very independent life. This is a facet of auto pilot and self driving technology that is greatly under appreciated! Cheers.....

KP in NPT | 30. Oktober 2016

Not only that. With autonomy, your Pepere wouldn't have to fork out for the "expensive" car (Per Eagles logic.)

Pepere could share with a family member or members - could use it while they were at work, for instance.

akgolf | 30. Oktober 2016

@WormtownKris - I'm a little closer to that age where I may need assistance and looking forward to having it available.

jamilworm | 30. Oktober 2016

@mp1156 "Pepere could share with a family member or members"

I was thinking the exact same thing. In fact that makes me wonder if someone could start some sort of organization where Model 3 owners could "donate" car time to people in need.

*The spam filter is blocking my post so I'll try to post in parts since I don't know which part is problematic.

jamilworm | 30. Oktober 2016

post continued:
I'm not sure if I want to rent my car out on the Tesla network to drunken collage kids, but I would seriously consider donating it to disabled or elderly people while I am not using it.

I intentionally misspelled collage because I think that was triggering the filter.

Red Sage ca us | 30. Oktober 2016

Yeah. It doesn't much like the term 'looniversity' either.