The topic du jour during Christmas festivities was the self-driving car.
My brother-in-law manages the New Jersey division of a major, international architecture company. They do office buildings in Times Square and corporate headquarters out here in the burbs. He recently attended a presentation about how the firm should deal with the upcoming changes to automobiles and was like a fanatic on the topic. He showed us the CEO’s power point presentation on self driving cars after Christmas dinner.
The firm is convinced that we’ll be fully transitional into an Uber-like shared self-driving car system in the next ten to fifteen years. The first changes will happen for trucking in five years.
And it’s much more than self-driving cars. People won’t own their own vehicles. They will call for a car, like an Uber service, and then chillax inside the vehicle, even taking naps, while the car takes you to work or on vacation.
My BIL’s architecture company is already designing their office parks with this future in mind. For example, they are building parking lots with external ramps, rather than internal ones. That way the ramps can be easily eliminated and the parking garages can be converted to other kinds of space.
On Christmas, everybody had a different reaction to this discussion. My parents were sad that they might not be around when all this happens. They’ve finally had to stop driving into New York City for their ballets and operas, because too many people were beeping at my dad as he drove 30 mph on the West Side Highway. They take the uber in now, but hate paying the fees.
I liked the idea, because I don’t give a crap about cars, and my astigmatism is so bad that I can’t drive on highways at night anymore.
But my in-laws hated it. They are Mid-western, and cars are a big part of their lives. And now they live in a shore community in North Carolina; they are afraid that the uber services won’t be that effective near them.
If some people get are all “Obama is steeling our guns” over gun control, imagine how they will get when we tell them that they can’t drive their trucks on the highway anymore.