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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

Self Driving Cars

In OneZero. More on Medium.

People don’t make better decisions when given more data, so why do we assume A.I. will?

On a warm day in 2008, Silicon Valley’s titans-in-the-making found themselves packed around a bulky, blond-wood conference room table. Although they are big names today, the success of their businesses was hardly assured at the time. Jeff Bezos’s Amazon operated on extremely tight margins and was not profitable. They had…

What the long history of the autonomous vehicle reveals about its fast-approaching future

The first self-driving vehicles were ships. After centuries of wrestling with wind and waves, ancient sailors devised contraptions that harnessed these forces of nature to fill in for man. They were simple but ingenious solutions, like the sheet-to-tiller system, which is still used today.

To rig it, you simply take…

Why self-driving vehicles and teleoperation are poised to thrive in a post-Covid-19 world

In the summer of 2018, I was walking near the campus of UC Berkeley when I turned a corner and came face-to-face with an irate robot.

I didn’t know it was a robot at first. It looked like a cheerful microwave oven with big, knobbly tires, sitting smack in the…

While Elon Musk and Waymo get all the attention — and regulations — autonomous vehicles for farming face fewer tech barriers and could be just as important

Between 2009 and 2015, Google spent $1.1 billion on autonomous vehicles for its Waymo subsidiary, which have so far roamed more than 10 million miles of city streets — though none of those miles have yet involved a paying customer. Tesla, which builds the data collection it uses to improve…

How the tech inside Tesla’s and Waymo’s self-driving vehicles really works

In 2018, the World Health Organization reported that road traffic injuries were the leading killer of people ages five to 29. An estimated 1.35 million deaths worldwide were due to vehicle crashes. One possible solution to this problem:

Don’t let humans drive.

In 94% of the cases, the driver was…

Who is ultimately to blame in the first self-driving car fatality — the technology, the victim, the safety driver, Uber, or the American city itself?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just released the final report of a crash in which a woman was killed after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber. The NTSB report excoriates Uber for its poor safety culture and takes issue with the threadbare rules that govern the…

Elon Musk’s future Tesla is a truck like the iPhone is a phone

Silicon Valley is all wrong about the Cybertruck, but not like it was wrong about Apple’s AirPods or Amazon’s Echo Show.

The Cybertruck reimagines what a truck is, constitutionally. It’s such a savage departure from our expectations that define a “truck” that we need a new word. …

A transportation revolution doesn’t have to include autonomous vehicles

If you’ve listened to the musings of some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent visionaries, you might believe we’re headed toward a future with ubiquitous autonomous vehicles to shuttle us wherever we want to go.

No longer would we have to risk getting stuck in traffic, caught in the rain on…

While the rich traverse the globe in an instant, the rest of us will be staying put

In September 2017, from an auditorium stage in Adelaide, Australia, Elon Musk offered a dramatic vision of humanity’s kinetic destiny. The occasion was the annual International Astronautical Congress. Musk was there to give a presentation on the BFR, the massive rocket vehicle his aerospace startup, SpaceX, is developing to power…

There are just a few little bugs to sort out

The future — our present — is not what we were promised.

Man has not been to Mars (Wired, 1997), food has not become obsolete (Ray Kurzweil, 2005), and robots have failed to make the entire country’s population independently wealthy (Time Magazine, 1966). The human foot has not morphed into…


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