Baby You Can Drive My Car – Leave the Driving to WIF

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Self-Driving Cars

Will Change the World

Autonomous cars used to only be found in science fiction, but over the past few years a number of companies, including Google and Mercedes-Benz, have been developing cars that will drive themselves. It’s believed that the first autonomous cars will be ready for the public by the year 2025, and by the year 2040 most cars on the road should be self-driving. Obviously that will have a profound impact on our roads, but society will change in more surprising ways, too.

10. More Internet Commerce

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On average, Americans spend about 50.8 minutes driving to and from work. That’s a lot of time spent focusing on the road when other things could be done. Economists believe that once cars drive themselves a lot of passengers will spend their time on the Internet, which will drive a new consumer revolution. One projection believes that if people spend half their time in the car online, $140 billion will be generated every year in digital revenue.

9. Fewer Police Officers

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A major part of policing is officers looking for people committing infractions while driving, and responding to accidents involving vehicles. In 2011, more than 26 million people were stopped because of something they had done while driving. If you look at all the people who have contacted the police, more than half the time it’s an issueinvolving vehicles.

Autonomous cars will simply be programmed to obey the rules of the road. Yes, there will still be accidents, but a majority of cars will be safe. As a result, cities may need half the police officers they currently do. While this would save an incredible amount of money, it would also put a lot of people in law enforcement out of a job.

8. Less Road Rage

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Canadians are famous for their polite and apologetic demeanor, yet 80 percent of Canadian drivers have admitted to feeling something that would be considered “road rage.” Of course, Canadians aren’t the only ones — it’s a major problem around the world. It leads to seriously dangerous behavior including speeding, cutting people off and weaving in and out of traffic. That’s not to mention how many times it can escalate to violence. In the United States, 1,500 deaths stem from road rage incidentsevery year.

With driver-less cars, much of this will be eliminated. Most road rage stems from people either acting inappropriately or perceiving that another person is acting irresponsibly or has wronged them in some way. Being cut off, not being allowed to pass and fighting over parking spots are some of the most common reasons people feel road rage. Self-driving cars simply drive as efficiently and as safely as possible, removing a lot of emotion from driving.

7. No More Drunk Driving

Glass of whiskey and car keys on wooden table.

Putting an end to drinking and driving has been a long struggle. Despite multiple campaigns and it being a well-known fact that it’s an incredibly dangerous and very illegal act, there are still many people who do it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 people are killed every day in alcohol related crashes. It accounts for 31 percent of all deaths caused by auto accidents in the United States, while other intoxicants, like drugs, account for a further 18 percent. While there’ssome debate as to whether someone should be allowed to be in control of a driver-less car when intoxicated, either way crashes caused by drugs or alcohol will not be the problem it is today.

6. Fewer Cars

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Autonomous cars may lead to people buying fewer cars, because cars will be easier to share. People who have their own cars drive it somewhere and it stays there. Which, in effect, leaves a car unused 90-95 percent of the time. With autonomous cars, someone could take one and then have the car drive itself somewhere else to be used by a friend or family member.

In the United States, the average number of vehicles owned by one household is 2.1, but that could drop to 1.2. The reason 43 percent of households have two cars is because they have two or more people with overlapping trips, but with self-driving cars that number would dwindle to just 15 percent.

5. Fewer Traffic Jams

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Traffic jams are one of the banes of modern life. For some people, it’s so bad thatthree weeks per year are spent sitting in traffic. There are a number of factors that cause traffic to build up, like accidents, stalled cars and the sheer number of cars on the road. But have you ever been driving on a highway only to be stuck for no apparent reason? This happens when one driver hits the brakes — the other drivers behind him have to hit their brakes as well. This stoppage causes a chain reaction, and there are more cars joining the back of the traffic jam than there are cars leaving the cluster, because it takes more time for people to accelerate than it does to stop.

Autonomous cars would help cut down on traffic jams. While construction and stalled cars will still be a problem, there will be fewer accidents and fewer cars in general. Self-driving cars will drive smoother, merge better and maintain a regular speed, all of which will keep traffic flowing.

4. More Environmentally Friendly

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One self-driving car may be making more trips, but there would be fewer total cars on the roads. This will cut down on emissions. And by making traffic flow better, there will be considerably fewer cars idling away in traffic jams. Finally, they’ll help with parking. Studies have found that 30 percent of congestion in cities is from people trying to find a curbside parking spot. When it comes to just looking for a spot, people will spend an average of six minutes and 45 seconds driving around. In a major metropolis like London, it can take up to 20 minutes. That means the average person will spend 106 days of their life looking for a spot. According to another study, 40 percent of someone’s fuel is used while looking for parking. That’s a lot of wasted fuel and a lot of emissions.

Self-driving cars will simply drop off passengers — where it parks doesn’t matter. It will just go to the next available spot and the owner can have it pick them up later. This will save a tremendous amount of time and fuel.

3. Greater Independence for Senior Citizens

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Senior citizens can be a major hazard on the roadway, because many seniors simply don’t have the reaction time and sharp senses of younger people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people over the age of 65 are responsible for 12.5 percent of the accidents in the United States. That’s only going to get worse, as many countries are having problems with aging populations. Seniors will account for anywhere from a quarter to half of the population in the United States, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere. Self-driving cars will allow seniors to maintain their independence and keep the roads safer.

It will also be a huge benefit to people with disabilities. For the first time in history, people who are blind, quadriplegic or otherwise incapable of driving will be able to be in control of their own car. More adults, regardless of their disabilities, would be able to live better, more independent lives.

2. Fewer Age Restrictions for Drivers

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Learning to drive and getting a license is a right of passage for teenagers around the world. It’s a symbol of responsibility and independence. Unfortunately, many teenagers make for poor drivers. Driving, like any other skill, develops with time and practice. Add in the fact that teenagers are more reckless and it can make for some dangerous situations on our roads. Motor vehicle accidents are actually the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 12 and 19. In fact, accidents account for one-third of all teenage deaths. With self-driving cars, the dangers of teenage drivers would vanish. People younger than 16 or 17 may even be able to control cars themselves, effectively making driver’s licenses a thing of the past.

1. Safer Roadways

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Horrendous car accidents have just been one of the downsides people have had to put up with if they want to drive. Since there are so many vehicles on the road and accidents can happen at any time, they’re a massive problem. According to the American Automobile Association, every year automobile accidents cost the economy $164.2 billion. That’s over $1,000 per American! The expenses come from police and rescue services, healthcare, property damage, loss of productivity and change in quality of life. Then there are the lives lost — about 30,000 every year in the United States alone.

With self-driving cars the number of accidents is expected to plummet, because 90 percent are due to human error. In the tests for Google’s self-driving car, they’ve logged 700,000 miles and only suffered a single accident — a minor fender-bender caused by a person.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

– Leave the Driving to WIF

Elon Musk – Not the Cologne in Your Cabinet

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10 Ways Elon Musk Is Making

the World a Better Place

You probably know Elon Musk as either a billionaire who’s as close as we’re likely to get to a real life Tony Stark, or that guy who keeps saying crazy stuff about how robots are taking over the world and we’re all going to live on Mars. However you see him, Musk is spending all of his time and money shaping the future of our world. Here’s how he’s doing it:

10. PayPal

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In 1995, Elon Musk attended a graduate program at Stanford University for a grand total of two days before dropping out to try to change the world through the Internet. Four years later his first company, Zip2, sold for $307 million to Compaq. His next enterprise was a small company called X.com, which dealt in online financial transactions. You’ve probably never heard of X.com, but you have heard of the service that it became: PayPal. Ebay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002.

9. SpaceX

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Elon Musk never intended to compete with NASA. He just wanted to use some of his insane wealth to put a greenhouse on Mars. His hope was that his humble greenhouse on the red planet would spark the public’s imagination and reignite popular interest in space exploration.

Then NASA quoted him $130 million for a rocket capable of getting to Mars,causing Musk to take a good, hard look at our existing space technology. He immediately recognized that much of the technology and manufacturing process was outdated. No one was stepping up to make space flight realistic, so he filled the niche himself. The SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket costs SpaceX’s clients $7 million per launch, and that’s presumably including a very hefty profit margin. That’s $123 million cheaper than NASA can do it for.

8. Tesla Cars

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Elon Musk often talks about how he’s identified a three pronged approach for bringing humanity into the future. The first approach was the Internet. The second was interplanetary flight, and the third was the electric car.

Until now, the electric car has been career suicide for any car manufacturer. They’re notorious for being slow, uncool and taking 20 hours to recharge after every two hours of driving time. Musk got on board with Tesla motors, providing funding and eventually winding up in the CEO role. Tesla cars solve several key problems. They look cool, drive fast and have relatively low charge times, with a range of roughly 22 miles per hour of charge. This makes them much more user friendly than anything we’ve seen before.

7. Tesla Museum

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A 2012 web comic created by The Oatmeal brought Nikola Tesla back into the public spotlight, turning the nearly forgotten genius into an Internet celebrity. When it became apparent that Tesla’s old laboratory was going to be sold to developers and destroyed the Internet rallied, raising a million dollars through a two week crowdfunding campaign. When Elon Musk heard about this, he donated an additional million dollars to the cause, and also pledged to build a Tesla car supercharging station at the site. Tesla’s old lab is now set to become a museum dedicated to the great man and his achievements.

6. Future of Life Institute

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The robot apocalypse has been on people’s minds for some time now. TheTerminator movies made Skynet a household name, and The Matrix took things a step further by showing us what the world might look like after the machines completely take over.

In recent years, some of the smartest people on earth have been warning us that we’re getting close to the point where AI may surpass human intelligence. Sure, Siri can barely take a memo now, but the popular theory is that processing power doubles every two years. The singularity is getting exponentially closer.

Elon Musk is one of the voices taking the threat of AI seriously. In fact, he’s so worried that he made a 10 million dollar donation to the Future of Life Institute, which researches ways that we can peacefully coexist with machines, and also tries to identify and eliminate issues that may cause harm to people should that future become a reality.

5. Nevada Gigafactory

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What do you do when your electric car company’s business plan requires more lithium ion batteries than the entire world produces? If you’re Elon Musk, the answer is to create a giant “Gigafactory” that meets your own demands.

Even for a man as wealthy as Musk, the Gigafactory is no small undertaking. The estimated cost of the factory is five billion dollars. Tesla is only worth just over three billion. That’s a bit of a funding gap. Musk got around this problem by inciting a bidding war between states who want to host the Gigafactory, which is estimated to create 22,000 new jobs and bring 100 billion dollars into the local economy over the next 20 years. The state of Nevada won with its offer of 1.4 billion in incentives, plus free land to build the Gigafactory on.

4. Mars Colony

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You’ve probably heard of the ambitious Mars One project, which aims to put human life on the red planet by 2027. But Musk is planning his own Martian colony program, and he wants to do it three years earlier. While Mars One is hoping to put four astronauts on Mars, Musk’s vision would have an initial team of 10 that expands to a self sustaining colony of 80,000.

Unlike the Mars One project, who hope to fund their ambitions by turning the mission into a reality TV show, Musk isn’t looking for the best and brightest. He’s providing one way tickets to Mars to anyone who can afford the $500,000 price of a seat. Start saving your change.

3. Reusable Rockets

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Not content with offering flights to orbit for one-tenth the cost of his competitors, Elon Musk is already working on the next way to save costs. He claims that if a launch mission costs $60 million, then only 0.3% of that cost ($180,000) is propellant. The rest of the cost is in building the rocket stages, which are discarded and fall into the ocean, meaning that they must be rebuilt for every mission. He compares that with the idea of airlines having to buy a new 747 for every flight.

Obviously, a reusable rocket would save a huge amount of money. You couldn’t just drop a huge rocket into the desert, though — that’s dangerous. So Musk has come up with a strategy to use drone technology to land his rocket segments intact on a sea barge. His first attempt didn’t go well, to put it mildly, but Musk is optimistic about perfecting the technology in the near future.

2. Self-Driving Cars

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Google has been on the road to self-driving cars for several years now, and has said that they’re hoping to bring them to consumers in three to five years. So it should be no surprise that Elon Musk is looking to integrate the technology into his next generation of Tesla cars.

Tesla’s Model S already includes some self-drive features, such as the ability to change lanes automatically if there’s space and adjust the cruise control speed whenever the car passes a new speed limit sign. Musk has stated that the next step is to implement functionality that would allow drivers to summon their cars from the garage via their phones, at least when they’re on private property. Autonomous cars on public roads are still a legal nightmare.

1. Hyperloop

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The Hyperloop is what trains want to be when they grow up. Elon Musk is currently working with UCLA graduates in Texas to build a test track for his public transit system, which he claims will be capable of reaching speeds of 760 mph. For comparison, the current fastest train in the world travels at 360 mph.

The Hyperloop works by enclosing a train in a low friction tube and using air pressure to shoot the train at massive speeds. It’s based off pneumatic tube systems used in offices to send messages between floors. Musk believes that his Hyperloop would allow transit between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just thirty minutes. That’s twice as fast as making the same journey by aircraft. If successful, the Hyperloop could make the world a much smaller place. Travelling across the country could be done in a fraction of the time it takes today.

Elon Musk

– Not the Cologne in Your Cabinet