Stuff that Works for You (not the other way around)

There’s a ton of automation in the pipeline.  Tech that will automate your stuff.  It will add a bit of smarts so it can operate on its own much more than it does right now.

Confused?  Here’s an example that may make it a bit more clear.

Automated, self-driving cars are already reality.  The tech has been proven by the Google map team and many others over the last decade.  Cars that automatically brake to avoid collision and cars that parallel park have been on the market for years already.


NOTE:  The only time the Google car was in an accident, it was being operated manually.

Given this existing momentum and what is going on at the legislative level, it’s likely we are going to see self-driving cars (both new and retro-fit) all over the place within the decade.

On the whole, that’s a good thing.  Cars that drive themselves will be safer than the cars driven by human beings.  We’re going to see lots of changes to behavior:

  • it makes it possible for work/sleep during commutes,
  • shuttle kids easily, and
  • travel long distances overnight while sleeping (a full reclining bed in the car).

From the perspective of our work on the American Dream, automation makes it possible for you to put your car to work when you aren’t using it.

For example, an automated car on Uber or Lyft could easily become a short haul taxi or a day rental on Relay rides.  If it has a bed, it could even be rented as a vehicle for hauling people from city to city overnight (a sleeper).  There’s lots of different options available.

NOTE:  This part time rental/use will kill existing fleet services.  They can’t compete.

The key to this is:  the car works for you, not the other way around.  In fact, it should be making you money instead of costing you money over the life of the car.

Here’s a scenario for how it would work.  It’s pretty simple.

It’s 2020.  I live outside a US city.  I’m telecommuting today and don’t need my car, so I put it up on Lyft as an automated rental.  Someone in my nearby town wants a lift to the city this morning, and requests the use of my car.   I check out their rating and accept.  The car leaves my home, travels to the customer’s location, and picks the customer up (using their app as an ID).  The car then drives the customer to the desired location.  The customer asks if the car could wait a couple of hours while she is in a meeting.  The settings I’ve put into the app allow that, and the car parks and waits until she emerges.  She gets in and is delivered back home in the afternoon.  The entire day is charged to her credit card automatically.  She rates the car (and me) 5 stars and after I inspect the car when it gets home, I give her 5 stars too.  My account is automatically credited with the income generated.  I expect to make $10 k on my car this year in profit on the car, not bad asset to own.

Join the movement to restore America's prosperity

Discussion — 9 Responses

  • Javier November 22, 2013 on 8:34 pm

    Its like fresh air

  • Adriel Hampton November 22, 2013 on 11:59 pm

    Love, love, love this. I wanted to make my car available while I’m at work, but it’s hard to find a concentration of people who need cars in the same places that many folks are already driving to. Sending a self-driving vehicle off to pick up someone where they are solves this. Plus, I really want to nap, read or do productive tasks while commuting.

    • John Robb Adriel Hampton November 24, 2013 on 3:28 pm

      True, it doesn’t solve the commute/travel problem. Telecommuting solves that. JR

      • Adriel Hampton John Robb November 25, 2013 on 6:51 pm

        I think telecommuting remains strongly up for debate. There is a strong argument for a creativity that comes from urban density, and from the interactions between folks in a physical office.

        “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh had a fascinating insight that he put into action, which spawned a $350 million infrastructure project in downtown Las Vegas. Hsieh learned that when companies grow, productivity per employee generally goes down. But every time the size of a city doubles, productivity per resident increases by 15 percent.

        “That fact spurred Hsieh to intentionally evolve Zappos culture in a new direction — in the future, Zappos would be more like a city than a company.

        “Instead of building a new company headquarters cloistered away in a leafy suburb as Nike, Apple, and Google have done, Zappos would move its new headquarters into downtown Las Vegas and be a member of the community there. It wouldn’t have a lavish office with all the amenities so you’d never have to leave. Rather, the office would have minimal services in order to encourage employees to go out into the city, where fortuitous collisions and diverse social interactions can fuel innovation and creativity.”

  • Chris November 23, 2013 on 11:39 am

    Large automated systems become subject to chaos theory. There may not be large accidents (the systems hopefully avoid collisions) but there will be large gridlocks, that will take time and human intervention to clear. Of course, we have them today with manually driven cars. But automated systems suffer this too – some may remember a day in the 1990s when the long distance telephone system failed all over the US – it was not fully understood, and thought to be a chaotic condition cause by a large, non-linear control system.

    A second aspect of this automated driving system, like the IVHS begun in the 1980s, is that government advisories may someday morph into government permissions – granted if TPTB approve of your request to travel.

    • John Robb Chris November 24, 2013 on 3:27 pm

      Chris, This reason self-driving cars work is exactly the opposite of what you suggest. Every car manages/drives itself. That’s why Google’s car has been able to travel hundreds of thousands of miles without a problem. BTW: This is the same tech that makes drones possible. The phone system, in contrast to the one we have today, was centrally managed in the 90s. JR

      • Mitchell John Robb March 9, 2017 on 9:16 am

        I told my kids we’d play after I found what I needde. Damnit.

  • Adriel Hampton November 25, 2013 on 6:53 pm

    Marc Andressen, one of the world’s smartest investors, is on the same page about cars:

    “What if, whenever you needed a car, there it was? And what if other people who needed that same ride at that same time could just participate in that same ride? What if you could perfectly match supply and demand for transportation?

    “Taken a step further, what if you could bring delivery into it? Two people were going to drive between towns, and there was also a package that needed to go. Let’s also put that in there so we can fill a seat with a package. Just run the thought experiment and say, ‘What if we could fully allocate all the cars, and then what if we could have the cars on the road all the time?’

    “And of course the answer is a whole bunch of things fall out of it. You’d need far fewer cars. The number of cars on the road would plummet by 75% to 90%. You’d instantly solve problems like congestion. You’d instantly solve a huge part of the emissions problem. And you’d cause a huge reduction in the need for gas. And then you’d have this interesting other side effect where you wouldn’t need parking lots, at least not anywhere near the extent that you do now. And so you could turn a lot of parking lots into parks.”

  • joe November 27, 2013 on 10:24 am

    There’s always potentially make money with tech. But somehow corporations are the ones earning , not people.

    What’s different here?