What happens if self-driving cars don't arrive this decade?

As a companion to yesterday's article about why the death of self-driving has been exaggerated here is an article asking what happens if the doomsayers are right, if people can't pull off a usable robcar and robotaxi for a decade more more.

There are lots of easier, more tractable opportunities out there, and I list a number of them.

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Reports Of The Death Of Self-Driving Cars Are Greatly Exaggerated

This past month, especially with the shutdown of Argo.AI, have seen a number of declarations of the death of robocars. Thank to markets and expected consolidation, there definitely is a rough patch, but here's the argument that the field is hardly pining for the fjords and some things are going gangbusters, and not a decade or more away.

Read it on Forbes at Reports Of The Death Of Self-Driving Cars Are Greatly Exaggerated

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What makes a cryptocoin (or any currency) valuable?

Why is a Bitcoin valuable? While almost all concede that shared faith -- or what I would term "Brand" -- is a major component of all currencies, there has been much debate over whether there are more intrinsic values that can keep the currency or token valuable, or get multiplied by brand to even higher value.

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Zoom calls on Teslas and French Solar Parking Lots

Two stories today:

France mandates solar panels on parking lots

France will require all parking lots with over 80 spaces to put in solar panels. That's huge, and means the power will be generated right where cars are charging in the morning -- no grid distribution needed.

France Mandates Solar Panels On Most Parking Lots; A Great Marriage With The EV

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Andrej Karpathy, former AI head at Tesla, explains taking out sensors

In a short interview snippet, Karpathy, who recently stepped down from being director of AI for Tesla, explains their reasoning for taking out radar, ultrasonics, and never using LIDAR or detailed maps.

"The best part is no part" is Elon's philosophy, and it's a valid one, if you are an automaker who wants to lower costs. But is it the right philosophy if you want to be first on the road with a safe robocar?

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Electrify America Chargers are rarely used, what's up with non-Tesla charging?

A press release from Electrify America, the largest non-Tesla charging network, revealed that their average stall is used slightly more than once a day.

I explore what that might be and what it means, with questions about how much people road trip in non-Teslas and the issues with poor reliability of these stations. And I point out ways to improve that reliability, including failing operational at the risk of giving out some free electricity.

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Tesla Asks Drivers To Vote On New Supercharger Locations, But Will They Be Rural?

Tesla is conducting a vote among owners on where to put new Superchargers. This will identify popular locations, but popularity may not be the only metric to use to decide where fast charging goes. Tesla paved the way by creating chargers not to use in your home town, but so that you would feel confident you could take your EV on long road trips -- something not possible before. The best choices may be small and rural, where people only go rarely, but where they want to feel they could go if they wanted.

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You can now go to the gate to meet folks at ONT airport again. We can get rid of the airport security nightmare if we want to as well

At ONT airport (Ontario California, east of L.A.) you can now once again get a pass to meet your family at the gate. That stopped on 9/11. But modern technology should be able to get rid of security lines and restore us to those simpler times of the past when flying wasn't a nightmare. Through the use of remote inspectors who can keep the x-ray belt rolling non-stop, and appointments at security and other tricks there is no reason most of the nightmare that airports have become can't be fixed.

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Launching the Alef, a try fly-and-drive flying car

Today I attended the launch of the Alef, a new e-VTOL vehicle that drives as well as flies. Most so-called flying cars don't actually drive, and there are reasons for this, but Alef thinks the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

I've been friends with Alef since 2018, though I have no stock, so here's my report on the issues in their design and launch.

Read Launching the Alef, a try fly-and-drive flying car

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Zoox gets more different with thermal cameras

Amazon's robotaxi company, Zoox, has always worked to be different, with its own custom vehicle designed from the ground up. They have added thermal cameras to it for night vision and detection of people and animals. I look at what that does and other factors about the normally low-profile company in this new Forbes.com article.

Zoox gets more different with thermal cameras

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Tesla removes ultrasonic sensors and disables parking features, something only Tesla could do

Tesla announced that new model 3 and Y vehicles delivered will no longer have the 12 ultrasonic sensors in the bumpers. They also disabled park assist and auto-park along with summon and the useless smart summon in these new cars, but promise those features will return soon as they work out how to do them with the cameras and software.

That's a remarkable move that no other auto OEM would do. Why have they done it and will it work? Read about it in a new Forbes site column at

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Pick a pseudonym if posting without logging in

I have changed the site so that the default name for anonymous posters on comments (Anonymous) is now blocked. Users may still post without authenticating, but it is requested they pick a pseudonym so readers can see when the same person is posting. Otherwise threads become very difficult to read. You can change your pseudonym when you want if desired. If you want your own protected name, contact me for a login.

Cruise ‘Recalls’ Robotaxis After Crash, But The Recall Is The Wrong Mechanism

In June, Cruise had the first crash for an uncrewed robotaxi which caused injuries to 3rd parties, including a passenger and a person in the other vehicle. The Cruise vehicle was partly at fault.

In this article I outline the new details we have learned about the crash, but also discuss what it means for the future, and whether the use of a NHTSA "Recall" for this particular software update is the right idea.

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