The Autonomous Vehicle Economy

I’ve been toying with the economic consequences of the impending autonomous vehicle revolution for a while now and this recent IKEA thought exercise got me thinking about it again. πŸ”

For now, a brain dump in bullet point format. Maybe I’ll expand on/gussy up these thoughts in the future. 🀷

  • Drie-thrus will die and be reborn. Fast food restaurants will struggle as their convenience factor will be eroded once hands do not need to be on steering wheels. Connected and networked cars will allow for safely ordering ahead and cars will become dining cars with expansive, outsourced kitchens. Any restaurant that desires could be a drivethru or grab-and-go establishment. A Ruth’s Chris at every interchange sliding surf and turf specials through windows to be eaten on the go. πŸ₯©
  • Horizon lines are decluttered as billboards disappear. Why pay to mass advertise on a floating wall when you can deliver targeted messaging inside your dream customers vehicle on a heads up, digital dashboard product with dynamic creative tailored on the fly using input from onboard sensors and information and the targets data portfolio from the web. Or a subscription allows riders to opt out of all advertising and cruise in peace as the admire the landscape. 🏞️
  • The roadside motel/hotel/travelodge industry dwindles as cars assume the duty of sleeper car, transporting their charge as they sleep. Why stop and extend travel time if you can careen towards your destination while unconscious? πŸ›Œ
  • Roadside assistance and emergency response becomes a rare occurrence one vehicles form a networked hive mind that eradicates traffic and accidents and vehicles can predict, plan, and schedule all necessary maintenance. 🚨

Src: MIT Tech Review

You Get A Custom Chip! And You Get A Custom Chip! 🎁

As expected, Tesla is one of the newest companies to announce they’re getting into the AI chip game. Wait, what? 🀯

Yup, Elon is doing Elon things and building custom chips built to spec specifically for Tesla’s neural network architectures to drive their vehicles. 🏎

It’s really not that crazy when you think about it. They get more control over the car’s brain and it’s not like they’ll be selling them. As tweets in the article point out, it’s basically what Apple did when they started making their own A series chips. 🍏

Really the coolest part about this is that these new chips/computers are supposed to be able to replace all existing Tesla computers. So instead of having to buy a new super expensive car to get the shiny bells and whistles (like all other tech devices and cars) you just get your hands on the new brain and swap them out. This might be the most modular a car has ever been. πŸ”€

Src: TechCrunch

Networked Autonomous Driving πŸŒπŸš™

Austin is doing something really cool, testing out autonomous vehicle alert boxes at select intersections. Why am I excited about this? 🚦

The boxes can feed information to autonomous vehicles, telling them when a light is about to turn red, that someone just ran a red light, that pedestrians are presentΒ and other data the cars need to make safe maneuvers.

I think the true value of autonomous vehicles will be realized when we can create a transportation mesh network, with all parts communicating with one another. It could also radically change the layout and look of cities and roads as visual cues like signs and lights would become largely unnecessary. ❌

These boxes could also be useful with augmented cars, sending signals to vehicles that can stop themselves and the like. The more cars that know a light is about to turn red or a pedestrian in the road means the safer the roads can hopefully become. 🀞