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Robocars: When?


For part six of my series on Robocars, consider:

When can robocars happen?

I discuss what predictions we can make about how long the Robocar future will take. While there are many technological challenges, the biggest barriers may be political, and even harder to predict.

We don't seem to have the Jetson's flying cars yet. What goes wrong with these predictions, and can we figure it out?


I think the best shot for initial adoption of robocars is Singapore. As a country that's primarily a city-state, it has the sheer percentage of urban area to make adoption both easier, in just needing to get the urban area right at first for a significant countrywide impact, and more significant in terms of the country as a whole. It also has the advantage, in this case, of being a semi-benevolent dictatorship. If you can convince the government this is a good idea, it'd make a US Presidential proclamation look like something tossed into a GM suggestion box. It'd also largely avoid problems with unions and established companies. The government there does have a good track record on being tech-friendly and wanting to improve the country, and I believe they have congestion charges for the city core which provides additional incentive to do robocars.

This does make some sense. And my guess is that once some country does it, and makes it work, and shows the statistics, then the USA and other countries can be convinced to do it. Both for all the advantages, and not to appear backwards compared to Singapore or China.

(The USA doesn't seem to mind appearing backwards compared to Japan any more.)

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