Saturday, 4 April 2015

Could driverless cars own themselves?

Emancipated automobiles sounds like a crazy concept (cars that own themselves). But his is a "thought experiment" to inspire by Mike Hearn.
Mr Hearn is a Zurich-based software developer is both an ex-Google engineer and one of the leading Bitcoin software developers.

At the heart of his vision is the idea that once driverless cars become commonplace, most people won't want or need to own a vehicle any more. And in a world dominated by self-steering taxis, each ride becomes cheaper if the vehicles are autonomous rather than owned and run by major corporations.

Instead of controlling which car goes where via proprietary software, the cars would communicate with people and the surrounding infrastructure via a new internet-based commerce system, he dubs the Tradenet.

"You would be using an app that goes onto Tradenet and says: 'Here I am, this is where I want to go, give me your best offers,'" the developer says.

"The autonomous taxis out there would then submit their best prices, and that might be based on how far away they are, how much fuel they have, the quality of their programming.

"Eventually you pick one - or your phone does it for you - and it's not just by the cheapest price, but whether the car has a good track record of actually completing rides successfully and how nice a vehicle it is."

The car, in turn, would communicate with the sensor-equipped roads it drives on, offering its passengers the ability to pay extra to go in faster lanes or unlock access to shortcuts - the cost of which would be determined by how many others wanted the same thing.

One expert, who has considered the proposal, suggested it was both "realistic and idealistic" at the same time.

Realistic, because the technologies involved are likely to become available within the next 10 to 20 years. Idealistic, because it flies in the face of how the car industry works.

To hear more about Mike Hearn's idea of self-owning cars you can watch his presentation on the subject.

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