Brad Templeton writes "I (whom you may know as EFF Chairman, founder of early dot-com Clari.Net and rec.humor.funny) have just released a new series of futurist essays on the amazing future of robot cars, coming to us thanks to the DARPA Grand Challenges. The computer driver is just the beginning — the essays detail how robocars can enable the cheap electric car, save millions of lives and trillions of dollars, and are the most compelling thing computer geeks can work on to save the planet. Because robocars can refuel, park and deliver themselves, and not simply be chauffeurs, they end up changing not just cars but cities, industries, energy, and — by removing dependence on foreign oil — even wars. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords." (More below.)Templeton continues: "The key realization is that while the safety and timesavings that come from having computers as chauffeurs is very important and can save a million lives every year, a number of interesting consequences come from the ability of robocars to drive themselves while vacant. This allows them to deliver themselves to us on demand, to park themselves and to refuel/recharge themselves. On-demand delivery makes car sharing pleasant and allows the use of "the right vehicle for the trip" on most trips. Self-refueling means the people using cars no longer need care about range or how common fueling stations are, enabling all sorts of novel energy systems with minimal "chicken and egg" problems. Because passengers don't care about the range of their taxis, battery weight and cost are no longer issues in electric cars and scooters."
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