Campbell live, about public transport

By | April 30, 2013

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Tonight, Campbell live talked about our Auckland public transport, and it doesn’t take a scientist to figure it’s useless.

Unless you live and work next to the bus stop and doesn’t need to catch different buses on the way, otherwise our Auckland public transport sucks, it’s a fact.

I heard that we are going to spend $3 billion dollars to improve our roads and rails, I wonder if any study has been done on how feasible of introducing self-driving cars. Let’s have a look at the benefits of having these automous cars on the road (from wikipedia):

  • Fewer traffic collisions, due to an autonomous system’s increased reliability and decreased reaction time compared to human drivers.
  • Increased roadway capacity and reduced traffic congestion due to reduced need for safety gaps and the ability to better manage traffic flow.
  • Relief of vehicle occupants from driving and navigation chores.
  • Higher speed limit for autonomous cars
  • Removal of constraints on occupants’ state – in an autonomous car, it would not matter if the occupants were under age, over age, blind, distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise impaired.
  • Alleviation of parking scarcity as cars could drop off passengers, park far away where space is not scarce, and return as needed to pick up passengers.
  • Elimination of redundant passengers – humans are not required to take the car anywhere, as the robotic car can drive independently to wherever it is required. This would be especially relevant to trucks, taxis and car-sharing services.
  • Reduction of space required for vehicle parking.
  • Reduction in the need for traffic police and vehicle insurance.
  • Reduction of physical road signage – autonomous cars could receive necessary communication electronically (although physical signs may still be required for any human drivers).
  • Improved fuel efficiency.

Hmm doesn’t it solve most of our problems?

So how feasible is it?

Lets look at Google driverless cars, in August 2012, the team announced that they have completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles (500 000 km) accident-free. So it’s possible.

Is it expensive? Yes, very expensive for now, but it can go down depends on how we approach it. Let’s assume it costs about $20000 to upgrade existing cars, not every household can fork out tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade their cars, but if the government is spending $3 billion dollars, can actually subsidies $10000 to 300000 households for the upgrade. Will I take it? Absolutely!

Just imagine you hop into the car in the morning to work, you either continue your sleep or surf the internet. After a long day of work, hop in, take a nap and arrive home rested. How about going to the CBD and not worry about finding a car park? It’s absolutely amazing.

What can we do now?

Actions starts from you and me, advocate about this vision anywhere you see fit, it may seem unrealistic so it was before we landed on the moon.

For now, I wish the government at least has this vision, at least preparing our roads to be autonomous cars friendly.

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