Bob Lutz is Senile . . . Let’s Hope

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La cosa nostra - This thing of ours?
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The only rational explanation for Bob Lutz’ recent column predicting the imminent doom of autonomous cars – and of autonomous driving – is senile dementia.

Or something much worse.

See the picture above – of him with Elon Musk.

Lutz writes that within 20 years, at the most, every autonomous car will be scrapped or taken off the road – and that everyone will be herded, like cattle, into automated “modules,” as he describes them – to be summoned by app and paid for via debt/credit card.

These “modules” will, of course, be electric.

Here’s Bob . . .

“The end state,” according to Lutz, will be the fully automated modules (he uses autonomous, which is the acme of illiteracy; I have made the appropriate substitution) with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.”

Human-driven vehicles “will be legislated off the highways.”

Whisk! Just like that.

No more car companies. Or dealers. No car lots – new or used.

No motorcycles, either.

Just transportation service providers dunning us per ride, like Uber and Lyft – except without the option to opt out.

Car brands – especially performance car brands like BMW and Audi and Porsche – will become irrelevant and go away because the “modules” will all be the same. One electric motor being just like the next one.

And they will go the same, too.

No more autonomous movement. Just queuing up. One “module” among many, all moving at the same pace – and not your pace.

“Nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway,” Lutz explains. Everyone will be driven at the same speed, that speed to be determined by the central government-corporate hive.

This will be “the death knell for companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi” that – up to now – have sold superior performance and driving dynamics. Lutz is right about that – if he’s right about automated cars – er, “modules.”

One might be a different color or shape, seat two or four or six – but functionally there will be no difference.

M&Ms that move in lockstep, that’s all.

Only a privileged elite – those who can afford it – will be allowed to keep autonomous automobiles as other than static displays. And the tiny handful of autonomous relics that remain operational and in private hands will only be allowed on privately owned roads and tracks.

Billionaires and millionaires will still be able to drive – just as they are currently able to fly – privately – without being groped by the Heimatsicherheitsdeinst, aka Homeland Security. Because “terrorists” can’t afford to charter a private plane, you see,

Bet you didn’t know that.

And like the felon processing treatment one now must endure at airports, the future Lutz envisions will not be the end result of a voluntary transition, as for instance the horse and buggy to the autonomous automobile.

People – well, the masses of people – will be forced to give up their cars; compelled to accept being carted around in “modules.” Not because it’s preferable but because the ruling elite will – is – doing everything in its power to impose the end of autonomy upon the populace. To herd them. To extinguish one of the last things that is still largely autonomous – under our control:

Our freedom to move as we see fit.

It is as horrible and bleak and totalitarian a vision as that conjured by Orwell in 1984, of a boot stomping on a human face . . . forever.

I admire Lutz. I met him several times back in the ‘90s. I doubt he remembers; I was a young journalist among dozens of others; he was a car industry kahuna – and the guy is a car guy. But he is also an old guy now. He is 85 – and his vision of The Automated Future (and the “end of the “automotive era”) is as glaucomic as it is tyrannical.

For openers, Lutz and other technocratic fantasists have an awful lot of faith in the infallibility of technology – which is the premise underlying the push for it. Human drivers can’t be trusted – Elon says so! – because they make mistakes. But technology never makes mistakes . . .

Computers are infallible and perfectly dependable. Like your laptop, for instance.

Lutz, being a pilot, ought to know better.

He knows that automated technology isn’t infallible when it comes to aircraft. It is why there is a human in the left seat – and despite all the automated systems in aircraft, the human can still control the aircraft – precisely because technology isn’t infalllible.

Wear and tear will kill you as effectively on the road as it will at 35,000 feet when  a “glitch” occurs and there’s no longer any way for the humans inside to retake control.

To trust automated cars with our lives will mean frequent – and expensive – safety checks and mandatory scheduled replacement of major components, just to be safe – as in aviation.

Aviation involves a manageable number of perhaps a few thousand planes nationwide. But if Lutz is right, there will be millions of “modules,” necessary to transport millions of people every single day, all day long.

How will millions of “modules” be regularly inspected – and replaced, on timetable – to assure the safety of the automated technology?

This gets into logistics.

These millions of “modules” will also rack up the miles sooner and wear and tear will happen even more rapidly than is the case with the privately owned autonomous car. Because the “modules” will be in near constant use, transporting one person after the next, all day long and all week long – whereas the privately owned autonomous car isn’t wearing most of the time because most of the time it’s not being used.

This gets into logistics – and money.

Who will pay for all of this?

How will they pay for it?

Lutz does not say.

How about the capital investment in autonomous cars? There are millions of autonomous cars (and a very large number of motorcycles) on the road today – and millions more will be built each year, for the foreseeable future. In 20 years’ time, will the government-corporate nexus really issue a fatwa that requires they all be thrown away – without compensating their owners?

What if they object?

Lutz doesn’t seem to care.

What about the effect on the economy of the tanking of every major car company in the world? Millions of people rendered unemployed – not because of the appearance of a better mousetrap, but because of government edict?

Lutz has no comment.

Lutz does say that the “modules” will  “merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 MPH. “

If you believe this, the proverbial check’s in the mail . . .   

In fact, the “modules” will operate at the pace of the least common denominator – which is the abiding characteristic of everything the government does. It will take longer to get where you’re going. And the cost in terms of liberty lost will be incalculable. 

How will “modules” work outside of dense urban cores? Will people who live in the countryside, in rural areas, be forcibly relocated, Kulak-style? If not, how will they get around if autonomous cars are outlawed?

Is that the real plan? To relocate everyone to densely populated urban cores? So they can be herded like cattle? Who thinks this is a good thing? Besides the technocrats, that is?

Why Lutz – once upon a time a car guy – seems to be happy about this prospect is a mystery.

Here’s to hoping it’s just the fog of old age.

. . .

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Author of “Automotive Atrocities” and “Road Hogs” (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

54 COMMENTS

  1. Here’s a quote of similar provenance that was asserted as near fact by millions of important-seeming talking heads:

    Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.

    Everybody said so. Even famous actors, leaders of businesses, college professors, etc. Hotshot people who know things and get things done. They spoke with absolute certainty. The news assured us of it. They laughed at and mocked anyone who suggested differently. It was just the way it was going to be and there was nothing we could do about it.

    You’re in that future now. So how did it turn out?

    Futurists are just people lacking the resolve to be scientists or anything else that requires great commitment. As others have noted all they really want to do is apply someone else’s ideas to whatever scenario allows them to have control over you, then call it destiny. All of them talk loud and boisterous and none of them ever actually create and achieve anything (has Ray Kurzweil merged with the machines yet? Of course not)The MSM of course loves this because they are playing the same game. But why Eric would give them credence in a forum like this is mystifying and disappointing.

    Jim Bowen is a futurist. But he puts his money where his mouth is. From a half baked rocketry contest with a $1000 prize in 2005, he raised millions and ultimately compelled Elon Musk to start SpaceX. He now predicts that AI will not bring Skynet, but the ability to challenge every bankrupt social theory that has been foisted upon us for the last 500 years. It will be the great liberator of mankind from oppressive lying governments, who will no longer be able to lie, steal or cheat without AI computers predicting or revealing the outcome in advance. Allowing humans to return to their natural state of decentralized ethnic based societies. And he can explain and prove every bit of it in great detail because he is the one actually working to bring it to fruition. Hed be a great source for a counterpoint to everything presented here. But Eric passes him over to go all in on the factless ramblings of a senile octagenarian who will inevitably be wrong. Priceless. FYI,they recently had to restart the old idle manufacturing lines that used to make cassette tape due to exploding demand. My friends band just pressed their new album on vinyl and is not printing ANY CDs. So the verifiable facts say that Cars will all have cassette decks again before they drive themselves. Leaving me at a loss to explain why Eric chooses to take us down this rabbit hole. Short of an act of surrender.

    My only hope for the future is that it will bring alternative media sites that actually present their own news and narratives instead of just reacting to MSM narratives (like this one) no matter how stupid and irrelvant they are. Will Eric’s next article be about Peak Oil? Global warming? The population bomb? I hope he realizes in hindsight that this article is just as dumb, inaccurate and irrelevant. We all control our world, our lives and our future. But only so long as we believe we do. Why not write about that? This article erodes that belief while offering no underlying enlightenment’. It’s just baseless factless demoralization. What’s the point?

    • Add another one to the pile: The idea that some new technology is going to solve “all of our problems” and free us from drudgery and tyranny. The opposite is almost always true.

      I don’t think the cassette fad will last long. I love old technology and things nostalgic- but I was glad to say goodbye to cassette tapes and fully embrace MP3s. No shuffle mode on cassettes; You have to rewind or fast forward through parts that you don’t want to hear at the moment…which takes forever; The tapes get eaten in the players, and even destruct from just sitting for long periods. Once those who have not had experience with cassettes, experience the reality…that will be the end of that fad.

      The only reason we used cassettes back in the day, was because they were portable (Unlike records); convenient (unlike reel-to-reel tape), and offered more user-control and better sound quality than the dreaded 8-track tapes. Once CD’s and then MP3 became available, I don’t know of anyone- not even Luddite me- who didn’t gladly make the switch.

      You make a good point though, Dutch. A lot of the “power” that “they” wield comes simply from people accepting the inevitability of “That’s the way it’s going to be”- whether they get that idea from mainstream media/academic propaganda, or even from “alternative” media and conspiracy theories.

      Having been into alternative media since back in the 80’s, when it’s only outlets were print media and shortwave radio, it has always amazed me how many who are obsessed with conspiracies and secret societies, etc. seem to believe that the elite already control everything that happens, down to a minute level- which of course is far from the truth- and even as you pointed out, is not even true on a macro level.

      Ironically, the people who *think* they really know what’s going on, because of the above, are often the most controlled- having essentially been neutralized, by accepting the inevitability of the things which they believe.

      And it’s like I’ve often said (just as one example): “If the elite really do have such a high degree of control, and operate through a cabal of secret societies, some burnt-out old hippie buying sneakers in the dollar store would NOT know of their existence and the details of their operation and future plans”!. I mean, if mental patients in homeless shelters are aware of it…it’s not “secret”.

      As Larken Rose often muses, if people would just cease believing in government, “they” would have no power, and would be overthrown almost instantly without revolution or violence.

  2. One thing I have learned about all of the “futurist” computer/technodweebs over the years is that virtually all of their grand schemes involve [i]forced[/i] social interaction. I can’t help but wonder if this is little more than a psychological reaction to their own insecurities?

    While I was never one of the “popular” kids by any stretch of the imagination, I found acceptance and camaraderie among smaller social subsets (skateboards, cars, punk rock), all based on wheels and freedom and individuality. The kid carrying a briefcase to the first day of junior high? He’s misdirecting his own social isolation and abuse at the hands of the “popular kids” (usually the biggest groupthink zombies in existence) by using technology to FORCE everyone into his circle.

    Never once do the technocrats stop to realize that the ones who picked on them relentlessly weren’t the individualists, it was the drones in the “go team” mindset. The ones who could only maintain their perceived popularity through asserting their dominance by looking down on the “nerd”. It was our fault too – the gearheads, punkers, skaters,etc. were all too busy minding our own business to pay any attention to what was going on.

    I believe that the sci-fi movie we are currently living in will only go so far before the silent among us take notice and rise. In the meantime, those of us in the car hobby need to make ourselves accessible to the up and coming. The “gold chainers” in their Sears Roebuck muscle cars and the Barrett Jackson crowd need to come out of their ivory towers and give the kids a chance too.

    • Those of us who have never sought identity by being a part of any group, at any time, are the REAL outsiders! Group mentality has always intrigued me. It operates even in the smallest groups. And those who claim to be individualists while conforming to the behavior of even the smallest group, are really just seeking to belong to something other than themselves.

      We’re the modern-day witches, because we’re fair game for anyone to heap blame upon, because not being a part of any group- even a minority or sub-culture, means that they only have to deal with us, and not worry that doing so will anger anyone else, nor rally others to our support.

      • This is what makes the outsiders dangerous. There is always the underlying assumption that we’ll always be apathetic to what’s happening to others and just worry about ourselves. Eventually, something will trigger the collective outcry and all hell will break loose.

        As time has gone on, there seems to be an even bigger rush to paint those who choose to follow their own path as diseased. Even in the 80’s, I was labelled everything from autistic to incorrigible by “experts”, when all I really wanted was to be left the hell alone. The weak-minded absolutely adore labels, because they enable them to maintain and believe in their little sociological Dewey Decimal System.

        When the tyranny reaches its inevitable tipping point, the outsiders will join as a functioning if not cohesive group, and there’s going to be hell to pay. Do they really think there’s going to be a sudden embrace of “the rules”? There will always be a William Quantrill or Francis Marion ready to step up and lead the “irregulars” against a common foe.

        As it stands right now, we’re all reading these news stories and shaking our heads. We’re complaining but not actively fighting. The time will soon come when our collective grousing will be meaningless, and we will have to do something about it. I prefer a little more direct action at this point, that happens to be a lot of fun. Fire up that old hot rod or hop on the bike, be visible and accessible. When the kids come and look, talk to them. There is nothing more “punk” than freedom to do your own thing. If there’s a neighborhood kid taking interest, take him under your wing and let him turn some wrenches. Fight the present with the future. The Barrett Jackson crowd doesn’t like David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan for Roadkill, but what have they done? How about introducing affordable automotive fun to a new generation, for starters?

        • Just look at how they always portray every sociopath/mass-murderer/mass-shooter as a “loner”- even though they never truly are.

          Since I was a kid in the 70’s, I’ve been hearing: “It’s no good to be alone all the time! Those serial killers always turn out to be loners!”.

          Thank goodness in those days, neither the system nor parents forced kids into highly regimented social constructs, like they do today. THAT probably would have made me want to pursue a career in psychopathy!

        • “The weak-minded absolutely adore labels”
          Well, I know I’m weak minded because I adore labeling certain people “mongoloids”. The mongoloids know who I’m talking about.

          • LOL- “Mongoloids”- Haven’t used that expression since I was a kid! Thanks for resurrecting it, Ed! It’s an oldie but a goodie! (We used to preface it with “midget”).

  3. If in 1917 an automotive exec predicted that in 1937 horses would be off the road replaced by cars, would you have laughed at him?

    It probably took another 40 years before the last horses were off the road. Today you still find a few holdouts like the Amish, and some carriage rides.

    Human-driven vehicles “will be legislated off the highways.” – I think you have been predicting that for years. Once the costs get too onerous auto ownership will fall off. Just like horse ownership.

    Whisk! Just like that. No more car companies. Or dealers. No car lots – new or used. – Dirty secret, Uncle hates dealers and the special deal they get. Just like Taxis. New York City doesn’t stop Uber because NYC just hates the little monopoly Taxi drivers get. NYC would rather just collect tax from Uber. As to car lots, who knows, there may be more of them.

  4. I think the most troubling aspect of the new car business is that there are so few “car guys” working in it anymore, and probably none at high levels. They are run by suits now-a-days (but that is true of any large corporation now). I think thats why most large corporations seem so ill managed and dysfunctional, they aren’t run by people in those “businesses”, they are run by lawyers, MBA’s and accountants and they know nothing of the actual business they mis-run. They jump from one company to the next like locusts, and you get what you expect from locusts.

    The only “car guys” you see in the business anymore are people working in mostly custom car shops for the most part. Most have little or no interest in new cars at all. I think most people interested in cars, have no opportunity to even be in the business anymore. And its not just because there aren’t as many jobs in the business anymore.

    “Car guys” survived longer at new car dealerships then the actual car manufacturers, but they are being pushed out of there. A local chevy dealer who is a huge car guy retired a few years ago and sold his dealership, and the whole character of the place changed. Just because the car guy retired.

    • Hi Rich,

      Your analysis about car guys – and their disappearance – is spot on. I used to feel a kinship with most of the people I knew in the business. You’d meet, for example, the guy – and it used to always be a guy – who ran a division and break the ice by saying something about your classic car or a design you really liked and – just like that – you could talk to that guy for hours.

      Not anymore.

      The best view across the canyon is the disparity between someone like deLorean or Coletti and . . . Mary Barra.

      • Lutz is the reason why for so many years people were forced to retire at 65. Before old age senility set in and led companies to do disastrous idiocies due to the senile old man who refused to relinquish control, and go off and just enjoy his wealth. Now they just want to steal our “wealth.”

        • Hi to5,

          Lutz is also very wealthy – and these things he advocates/touts as “inevitable” will not affect him and those like him very much; hence they can afford to be glib about such things.

  5. Where to begin?

    For one thing, no one has commented on something that should seem very obvious. Which is, the authorities and politicians aren’t going to be using self-drivers. Officer Friendly and the FBI will still have some sort of high-performance cars and they will be able to drive those cars.

    The average age of autos in the US is 11.5 years. Look around. You’ll see a lot of late 1980s–early 1990s vehicles still in daily use: Honda Accords, Toyota Camrys, various large US cars. You’ll see pickups and other light trucks dating back to the 1960s still in regular use. Some fatwa is going to take all these off the roads? Really?

    Can you imagine the lawsuits from the well-heeled who own expensive collector cars that suddenly have zero value because they can’t be used and driven? Do you really think the government is going to tell the billionaire owner of a million-dollar Duesenberg now rendered valueless to suck up the loss? They’re entitled to fair-market value, right?

    Even with today’s cars, horse-drawn vehicles have never been generally banned from the roads, much as we haven’t banned walking. Will the Amish be forced to take their buggies off the roads and use modules instead? How far do you think that idea will fly? The point is that older modes of transport have never been banned, yet Lutz and others think we’ll do just that once the dreaded modules are available. That flies in the face of all the precedent—so really?

    And just why can’t existing cars, self-driving cars, and these modules coexist? What’s the real issue if it isn’t total government control of the population’s movements? Is Eric right? (Yes…)

    Conversely, can you imagine finding or inheriting a classic old car that can never be restored because it won’t be allowed on the roads? The old-car hobby and the automotive history hobby will be kaput. But dissatisfaction with the state of things helped Donald Trump become President. How long will a government that tries to force all old cars off the road stay in power?

    If we go to these “modules”, what happens if you need to pick up lumber or drywall from Lowe’s or take a load of trash to the county dump? What do you do when it’s vacation time and you want to use your camping trailer? Will you simple be told, tough shit, you can’t do any of that any more? Or will some provision be made for modules that can haul cargo in a bed? Yeah, right…

    We cannot afford to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure now. What makes Lutz think we’ll find the money for this new infrastructure? And I’ve commented here before that city planners and bureaucrats don’t want individual cars or anything similar, and that would include modules. Modules would add to congestion too. The do-gooders want everyone in mass transit, meaning trains and buses, which in peak traffic times are actually the most efficient way to haul lots of people. What makes Lutz think these people will permit or encourage modules?

    Has anyone asked the young if they relish the idea of self-drivers or modules? A few have done so because of the publicity about fewer millennials driving and more getting licenses later if at all. Those researchers have found that millennials want to drive, but the cost of cars and insurance are too expensive. North Carolina—and presumably other states—now require young drivers to show they are covered under someone’s auto insurance before they can get their first license. Are such laws really the culprit behind such publicity about millennials not driving, as opposed to them really wanting shared rides and modules?

    So who’s really clamoring for this future anyway? Millennials? Not really. If it’s not busybody government types and those who would stand to profit, then who?

    So many questions; so few good answers to these questions, and so little rationale for the futurists’ bullshit. Especially Lutz’s.

    • Back around 1987 or so there was an effort to ban all cars made before 1980. In the 1980s the programs to scrap older cars began. Through political fighting by 1995 the war was won by the old car hobby. Of course it took its toll.

      In this fight the control freaks did aim to make collector exceptions. But if you liked something that wasn’t something the well heeled collector would own, well too bad for you. When they couldn’t get the ban they kept expanding clunker programs to choke off the parts supply. Cars were to be crushed. No parts that would keep yours going. I believe they conceded for trim and interior bits.

      Horses have been effectively banned from the road in urban and suburban areas. In my area many trails are horse and bicycle. Chicago waged a war on horse drawn carriages and those companies are mostly gone now.

      The money is always there for something that expands the power of the state and its partners. I’ve never known it not to be. It’s never there for the things people want like roads that don’t resemble the surface of the moon but for a control grid, they’ll hire a “defense” contractor to make it and find the money. It could even come out of the military budget since the right companies will get the work.

      It’s going to be another fight and I don’t think the old car hobby is strong enough for it this time. It’s strong in dollars and interest but organized resistance is going to be troublesome.

      Also there are other ways without direct confrontation. I can think of one that might work but I won’t mention it here in public.

      • Its a war of attrition. Just wear people out with battle after battle after battle. The elite don’t mind losing some battles, because its not their money. It’s never their own money, but if you oppose them, it’s your money and your time (which most common people have little of) The elite are in it to win the war. In the long run, they get their way, or at least it starts moving in their direction. They have the money of the government to pay for their battles, you don’t. In fact your paying for it all.

        Just as an example at the local level how this works, a local park district has been trying every year for the last 7 years to get a tax increase. Voters in that village actually still have a say to vote it in or not. There has been an election on this increase every year. It loses every year. But they are back every year. One year they even got within 50 votes of winning. If there hadn’t been a scandal involving several managers they probably would have won the year after that. The anti tax group is winning the battles valiantly but they will lose the war in the long run, because they are being tired out by the relentless government drones who have made it their jobs to get this increase.

        It never occurs to anyone that once something loses like this tax increase, they shouldn’t be allowed to try again for a number of years.

        Its the you vote and vote and vote until you get it right.

        • Indeed. That’s how it works. The control freaks, the elites, the collectivists, just keep bringing back what they want over and over and over again and once they ‘win’ it’s permanent. There’s no way freedom can be maintained in this system. If a enough slap shots are made eventually one gets past the goalie into the net. So all that can ever be achieved is to slow the rate of loss. Freedom, liberty, will be lost completely eventually. It’s baked into the cake.

      • Same in NY, Brent- I believe the horses and carriages are gone- or on the verge of it. Funny how everyone “gets the same idea st the same time”, eh?

        And yeah, most people in the old car hobby are now dying off, or too old to be a problem to the handlers. The ones still around would probably go along, anyway, as they tend to be the flag-waving war venerators.

        I remember those proposed bans in the 80’s and then the 90’s. Now they’re doing it differently: Cash-4-clunkers; increasingly stringent state inspection requirements; creating products of the government indoctrination centers who couldn’t care less about cars (or freedom)…

        It’s all starting to come together now, and things are starting to move exponentially fast. A new dark age is upon us.

      • The old car lobby has allies in SUV/offroad enthusiasts, performance fanatics and people who enjoy driving. It’s only the ivory tower psychopaths and industry ceos looking for the government money and control in all of this. I am a millennial myself and 2013 silverado will be the car I take to the grave. However many urban peers love uber, self driving cars or find driving a chore. Hard to tell how many number in my camp and how many number in the ‘can’t wait to diddle on their phone in the car’ camp.

  6. Articles like this almost make me happy that I am approaching the 70th anniversary of my birth. I will most likely not be around this sphere to witness such debacle!!

  7. The problem, as I see it, has nothing to do with electric cars or infrastructure or any other technological concern. The problem is far more fundamental.

    The problem is that The State has the power to make laws.

    While it’s too late to fix America in this regard, when we start colonizing space and some ambitious libertarians decide to start a new Last, Best Hope for Mankind, let’s hope they’re smart enough to realize that giving The State legislative power is the slow-motion suicide of their new republic.

  8. Putz….I mean Lutz isn’t senile…he’s evil. At first glance, standing there next to the guy who plans on “colonizing Mars” within 4 years (LOL) one might think that he’s caught what ever mental malady Musk is suffering from…but what he’s saying is exactly what “they” have planned for “us”.

    This is EXACTLY the way they push an overt agenda, to fast-track it. First: They start out with cars which have their every system needlessly controlled by a computer. “It’s the latest hi-tech” It does nothing for you, except make your car needlessly expensive to repair, while making it become obsolete sooner, and while putting the gizmoes in place to spy on you, and allow remote surveillance and control.

    Then, they bring out the all-electric cars (Once the people have readily accepted the hi-tech computerized BS in regular cars), with semi “auto pilot”. Oh, and just “coincidentally” ride-sharing just happens to become a thing at this time, so that everyone is used to the idea of just calling for a ride…)

    And, then the next step, is the fully self-driving ride-share car, and the gradual elimination of human-driven cars (Which, even if they don’t out-right legislate off of the roads, will go away soon enough, as new ones cease to be manufactured; and as remaining ones wear out, or are “impounded” when traffic stops against human-driven cars are ramped-up and penalties made more severe… [Which brings up another interesting point- Since they can’t give a ticket to a driverless car, how will they make up for all of the lost revenue they normally extort from drivers?]

    The economic impacts? That will have already been largely taken care of when the crash comes. What will emerge from the ashes, are a few government-favored corps in a world of driverless cars.

    Notice how all of their plans are starting to mesh together, lately? The next crash will be the killing off of the old system- and of course, the “solutions” they have on hand [to the problems which they created…] will be seen by the ignorant masses as their sal…”]vation… “Oh, thank goodness for driverless cars and fascist ride-sharing, or I don’t know what I’d do, since all of the car companies traditional manufacturing plants went bankrupt in the crash and or were destroyed in the war! And goodness knows, we just don’t have the resources to rebuild them, nor the desire to continue to produce those clunky old dinosaur cars, that you actually have to drive.

    Maybe that’s also why they’re provoking a nuclear war with N. Korea. Destroy the old infrastructure…and the new one which they will be “forced” to build, with just so happen to be one of roads designed for driverless cars; “smart” houses and buildings; only giant apartment buildings filled with tiny apartments, even in the country…for “saaaaaaaaaaaafety”, etc. Their “utopia” [which is indistinguishable from Hell] will become disgusting reality.

    Putz and Muskrat are just “in” on the plans. If they weren’t a part such schemes, they would both be jailed as con-men and hucksters…maybe even institutionalized for being insane- which anyone would have to be, if they believe that they are going to colonize Mars…in 4 years, no less!

    • Computerized cars are the result of computerized people (it’s how their framework of thinking is) and saving a nickel. It was the solution to getting all these gizmos and features into a car without having a lot of wires. The networking concept was the solution to the cost and weight of a lot of wires. So it did make all the features affordable on the plus side.

      As far as the over-reaching organization for society that goes back at least to the 1930s and we are becoming increasingly less able to fight it and delay it as greater and greater percentages of the population are conditioned to it. There’s a reason why billions upon billions are being funneled to certain companies.

    • Mary Barra recently had a dumb Linkedin article (the whole website is dumb) on how they are moving ‘forward’ by having an all electric fleet by 2020. Bankruptcy will happen for GM in 2021 then. The comments section is filled with brain dead drones clapping and fawning over this.

  9. Eric,
    I was in my neighborhood Discount Tire shop to get my free rotation and as I am not a cell phone druggie I stared at the wall for 20 minutes and finally relented and picked up the nearest magazine. The magazine (forgot the title) was a periodical for US Tire Salesmen and had articles and ads on smaller tire brands and market trends. The title story was exactly this, almost automaton, that car dealerships would be out of business and rides on demand and automated cars were the new norm TODAY and tire dealers needed to adjust to this new fleet economy now. It had the same talking (control) points of how tires would be sold en masse to these new fleet operators and never again to individuals. Again, where is the market driver for this? Non existent except in Ivory Towers and oligarch paradise on the west and east coast where only the super rich will be afforded to have cars to get away from the poor people. Same way there is no TSA on charter jets because our overlords cannot be bothered with that. Troubling times.

  10. Joseph Tainter notes that as civilizations develop and mature, they apply increasingly-complex solutions to problems, until they reach the inevitable point of diminishing returns.
    Eric is correct that paying for this system will become impossible (especially when its costs are added to the costs of all the other complex solutions being proposed and built), but Lutz is correct in that the state will most definitely try to impose this solution.

    • I have been noticing things are becoming more and more broken. It is getting more and more difficult to work around the broken. Which gets me to these robot cars. What’s going to happen when a robot car has a mechanical problem? Does it sense it and refuse to move? The number of sensors required to even minimally monitor a vehicle for mechanical wear is absurd. So it will have to be half-assed. Either way it will be prone to false alerts and shutdowns. The other option is not to have them and wait for people to die from things that aren’t generally fatal today like tie rod ends and ball joints.

      How is the car going to know that abnormal tire wear is a sign of a dying tie rod end… how is it even going to know the tires are worn? How is the car going to know that clunk is broken swaybar link, worn ball joint, or motor mount? How is it even going to know there is a clunk? And is the on-demand rider going to report the clunk or even know it’s an issue? Unlikely.

      These questions and more tell me we have another case of the software people skipping the FMEA. This is why the established automakers are stymied in this game. They have internal processes with FMEAs and other techniques that will stop a robot car program dead for issues like these.

      Robot cars are going to be like the most ignorant neglectful owner times a thousand. Noise? What Noise? Keep driving.

      This is being engineered from the top down for technocratic reasons. There’s too much stopping it from the bottom up.

  11. Lutz is one of them. If he were a lover of freedom, he would have been attacking automation and electrification day in and day out.

    • Here, here. That’s what I say. Why hasn’t this guy been supporting the National Motorists Association, an advertiser on this page, to advance the issues of motorists rights and to make sure we have a spot on these “inevitable” automated roads? For years, no, Decades, motorists rights have been ignored by the general public and these “leaders” at our peril. I’m fully sick of it.

  12. What sucks the most about no human driver cars, is they won’t ever allow any of the things that would be nice or convenient about them. Parents won’t be allowed to send their older kids off to somewhere alone for example. Imagine the time saved if you could do that, soccer moms would rejoice if they could do that. But that won’t ever be allowed.

    Just look how long that downtown vegas bus went before it got in someones way. One hour! It wouldn’t back up so it wouldn’t get hit. Couldn’t even do that. People inside watching helpless as the truck hits it. It just stopped and became a paper weight. And the truck driver gets all the blame, because it was in his blind spot, and didn’t know it was there til he hit it. Illegal move on his part they say. I bet there is no legal way to make a stop in most downtowns for trucks.

  13. I don’t get the impression from the article that Mr. Lutz is happy about the future he describes. He starts off the article saying “It saddens me to say it, but we are approaching the end of the automotive era.”. Granted, he does not rant about the future he describes as being a bleak and terrible one, which it is, but I get more the impression that he is simply describing what he thinks is coming, whether we like it or not. He even ends the article with “I won’t be around to say, “I told you so,” though if I do make it to 105, I could no longer drive anyway because driving will be banned. So my timing once again is impeccable.”. Which to me implies that he is glad he won’t be around to see the demise of freedom on the roads. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Bob has partaken of the Musk Koolaid.

  14. I don’t think he’s senile or is even endorsing the controlled future. Maybe I missed a specific interview or a article or some such but what I read from him seems to indicate where he thinks or knows the automobile business is heading. I agree with him, that is where is it is heading. (and I have the advantage of making that opinion public long before Lutz did so it’s not like it takes some insider view to see it) It is headed that way because the so-called elite want control and the people have been conditioned into compliant domesticated human resources that want to be taken care of. It doesn’t matter if it works better or at all, the goal is power.

    Where is Mr. Atoz, the atavachron, and his library when you need them?

  15. In some ways I used to like Lutz, but never trusted him. He said a few good things from time to time, but never meaningfully opposed NNTSA and EPA Uber alles. He is 85. His generation had it easy. Also, when you get old, you tend not to give a fuck.i used to dread it. I now look forward to not giving a shit either.

  16. The old question “Would you rather be Louis XVI in his prime or a middle class American in 2017?” is the reason for all this. Personally for 80+ percent of the time I’d welcome an autopilot. Highway driving (at least at mandated speeds) is an exercise in staying awake. Stop and go traffic on surface streets is incredibly taxing too. When there’s no traffic and no cops around driving is pretty cool, but that’s a rare event these days. I remember when I drove out the PCH from San Francisco to LA. I stayed over near San Francisco International. On Sunday morning I saw a bunch of people running tuners and drifters up the highway because that was the only time it wasn’t jammed full. It looked like they were having a lot of fun too.

    Ol’ Bob probably doesn’t drive much these days, he can afford to pay someone to take care of that for him. If I could afford to pay someone to drive me around (and do my errands), I’d do it in a heartbeat. Bob has someone to do the driving for him. If technology makes it possible for me to not have to manually drive that means Bob’s millions aren’t buying him anything special. Maybe he could run for President.

    But you’re absolutely correct, it comes down to having the choice. I’m sure if Bob wants to bust out the Caddy and go for a cruise so he can look back fondly on his testosterone he can do that too. But that means making “manual” vehicles collectors’ items. Running up the price at Berretts’ auction house just means the 99% can’t play the same game. Or the 1% can buy their own “pod,” possibly in a stretch configuration, and decked out with all the stuff they want. Oh you might be able to order one for “that special day” or when in Vegas with the boys, but otherwise you’ll be cruising around in a city-bus like pod, possibly crammed in like economy class, taking some random route to your destination so that more odorous people can be jammed in alongside you.

    • Some great drives in East Texas are on US-96 “The Kings Highway” however short it is and then crossing the cajun border and driving 85 down some of those small roads where there are never cops. The Oklahoma Turnpike going from Texas to Kansas is nice too, zero cops, decent road conditions and rarely traffic. Cruised at 85+ the whole way.

    • I always thought listening to bloated bombasting suckass pollies talk was a real exercise in keeping awake. I’d much prefer to listen to my IC car motor than a pollie, CEO, or religiminous spirit or ghost open its mouth.

  17. Instead of rail cars of the 1930’s these automated units will take on the task.

    I see the scenario where you call one up and get in it. It determines, based on your age/health/lifestyle/productivity quotient, that you will not be taken to Starbucks for coffee but, to the reeducation/work/death camp designated. Your efforts to escape will be as futile as your screams of terror.

    “What ever happened to Bob?” Your friends and family will inquire. Only then will the truth become known to them.

    I wish I had the writing ability to turn that idea into a book…

    • “Instead of rail cars of the 1930’s these automated units will take on the task. ”

      Astute observation. Maybe the elites want to return to the level of control they had in the ’30s when a radio broadcast would establish their version of the truth in the majority of minds. It ain’t that easy for them today. Restricting travel will be one of their desperate ploys to regain control. Another ploy is restricting access to information and communication.

      That is going to prove to be harder than repacking toothpaste into the tube with a toothpick.

    • Hi Mark in BC, I have not heard anyone mention forced ride sharing. Imagine ordering a car and expecting an empty one to arrive. Instead, the car arrives with 1 or 2 other passengers who are going to the same place or getting dropped off en-route? The company who actually owns the car will see this as an ability to collect 1-3 extra fares in one vehicle, which increases efficiency and profits for his company. Just think about the types of people and/or disliked co-workers you will be forced to ride-share with. The company could further increase profitability by offering an option for renting a car without other passengers to you for a much higher fee. Dystopia is rapidly approaching!

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