Brad Templeton on Robocars – Where will They Take You ?

Robocars – where will they take you ?

Human drivers kill 40,000 per year in the US.
3 parking spaces per car up to 60% of the land in LA.
DARPA contests.
2007 Urban grand challenge.

Coming or here now
Auto parallel parking
lane changing warning
Infiniti lane departure prevention
Volvo – nobody will die in a Volvo by 2020 (may extend to no one will be killed by a Volvo)
Mercedes Pre-safe applies brakes before accident
VW – lane following, passing, parking garage pillar avoidance

==> Hundreds of thousands of lives saved per year, and energy savings
Military 1/3 of all vehicles autonomous by 2015

Programmers can save the world.
Experimenter has a self driving Prius which he allowed to drive across the Bay Bridge. He was ready to takeover if it was not doing well, but has had ttrips where he did not take the steering wheel.

Ultralight vehicles. Ten times more efficient than transit or regular cars.

Moore’s law to Transportation
– vehicles get twice as good per century (may not even be able to achieve this)

Moore’s law was a marketing law.

Steps on the way


Political issues
-Must be made legal
Must not be over-regulated
jurisdictions will compete
Possibly Singapore, China, India, Israel, Japan
Children, the aged, the Drunk, some Jews [ a joke related to groups that should be pro-robocars. some jewish people would want robocars to exist so that they could argue about whether they are permissible on Saturday]

-no walking
-longer trips, Robo-RV, super-sprawl
-computer intrusion, bugs



Abuse of robocar avoidance

Engineering Challenges
-Range not a factor
– acceleration and speed not a factor
– comfort much more of a factor, soft ride
– want to be sharable
– different safety constraints
– small width, single passenger or face to face, sleepers, RV


62 lines, 50 meter pavement, 120 m cars
1 centimeter resolution
$75,000 now but nothing in it which could not be brought down to $300

Poor Man’s Teleporter

Travel is fully productive
– read, work, vidoe conference

The end of congestion
-smaller vehicles
– light timing
– closer spacing
-smart intersections & 4 way stops
-greater “rational” predictabiity & obedien to simpler traffic code
-never blocking streets

Smarter Traffic
-metering lights
-congestion charging
(2000 cars per mile per lane max before congestion collapse)
Routing based on congestion predictions
Reservatios for use of road space
pavement for road use, all toll roads
– dutch auctions for road use