Self-Driving Taxis Are Here

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Bye-bye jobs!

Delphi Automotive will announce plans for a new self-driving taxi service in a U.S. city – most likely Boston or Pittsburgh – within the next month or so.

The company had planned to announce the service late last year but needed more time to negotiate with potential partners, said Glen De Vos, Delphi’s chief technology officer.

“We are going through the final application process, and we expect approval in the next four weeks or so,” De Vos told the trade publication Automotive News. “In the U.S., we’d like to kick off the service in September.”

In June, Delphi will follow up with an announcement of a taxi service in Europe — most likely in Luxembourg or France, De Vos said.

Delphi’s U.S. initiative will be similar to the ride-hailing service that it launched in August in Singapore. In that city, Delphi operates a single Audi SQ5 crossover guided by an array of lidar, cameras and radar sensors.

service and begins to enjoy economies of scale. But Delphi first wants to demonstrate that its taxis are trustworthy.

“This is not a science project,” De Vos said. “They want to operationalize this technology.”

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  1. People have such little idea how fast self driving vehicles are going to be here. And even less idea how fast it will come to dominate driving too.

    Self driving will take over commercial driving first of course. The economic and regulatory reasons will be enormous to do so. What large trucking or taxi company is going to want to keep its human drivers? That’s right, none. Human drivers come with lots of management problems, lots of regulatory rules, and oh yeah, they like to be paid too. Smaller companies will do it slower, but it will happen. At some point self driving trucks will be the same price to buy even cheaper maybe. I am guessing the computer controls will eventually be less expensive then building a cab for the human.

    That is about four million people that will become unemployed, very likely in a pretty short period of time, under a decade at most. Most will have few transferable skills. People have no idea the affects on society when that happens, and it will happen.

    The only thing that will slow it is: some locations will ban self driving temporarily, and maybe some long term union contracts. But the forces that will bring self driving will be far stronger then those opposed. It won’t even matter if the majority of people oppose it because they don’t trust computers with driving.

    • They will only ‘be here’ because our “owners” (in the Carlin sense) want them here.

      Currently the road transportation system functions in north america because people don’t obey the rules. Once a critical mass of motorists follows the rules to the letter the system will break down. It will clog. It will cease to function sufficiently. At first it will be blamed on the human rule breakers but with 100% compliance it will be even worse.

      Now a quick fix would be to change the rules to something sensible. No more 55mph interstate speed limits and so on. That would fix a lot of things. But will it be politically viable to admit after 45+ years that speed doesn’t kill, that the whole thing for all these decades has been a farce for revenue generation? They could try and cover it to say the machines drive better but as solution to machine caused congestion? Rock and hard place.

      Automation can’t deal with flexible rules so something has to give. Even Lt. Commander Data had issues with flexible rules. Probably a good sci-fi example of what I am getting at.


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