Saturday, 7 September 2013

Is Canada Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

A few weeks ago I was interviewed over the phone by Rob Drinkwater of the Canadian Press.  He was doing an article on driverless, or self-driving cars and in his investigations he was told that he should speak to me to get a different perspective than the government one.

So he contacted me and we spoke a couple of times for about an hour in total.  Although I sought to explain just something of the breadth and depth of this subject, I managed to pepper the conversation with some statements to help reinforce the point I was making.

Well, with the government folks that he contacted not saying too much, Rob's fall-back was our interview - in which it seems he pulled out all of the emphatic sound-bites, and put them together in his article.

Because of the provocative theme, and it being a syndicated article the story was picked up by all the major media outlets in Canada and was published in some form in every major Canadian Municipality.

A few of the outlets that carried the article and their headlines:

Hopefully, even though the article is woefully short on facts, it has helped raise the awareness of the subject and has prompted more discussion.  Certainly the number of comments and 'shares' on social media impressed me that there is a growing interest in this subject.

Of course the reader can probably simply replace the word 'Canada' and place your own country name in there, and the main point of the article will still be a valid question: "Is my jurisdiction ready for self-driving cars?"

It is my belief that the more that people know now, then the more prepared they will be when decisions are needed around this technology.  In my opinion it is already time that Governments need to be thinking about policy, and businesses need to be thinking about strategy.  Right now we are in the 'sweet spot' when it is possible to be 'proactive', but as the months go by and the deployment of self-driving cars looms larger, then some responses will start to be 'reactive'... which isn't usually a good thing.

Friday, 6 September 2013

The First Edition of 'AV Update'

The Autonomous Vehicle (AV) story is a fascinating one, that could end up fundamentally impacting the lives of most everyone on the planet in the next two decades.

As not everyone has the time to follow this story as it unfolds, my associate, Barrie Kirk, and I have put together an 'AV Update' newsletter that we will distribute on an occasional basis.

If you want to read it (and then hopefully subscribe to the email version), then just click on this link.

In this first issue there have been some developments which give some clues as to what Google's intentions may be in the shared mobility space.  By investing heavily in Uber it does suggest that they will have the infrastructure already in place for when automated taxi fleets become possible - probably in 2017 as that is the date that Google aspire to have their self-driving car technology in public hands.

The rumour about a possible Google, Continental and IBM alliance is also very intriguing in the possibilities it would open up.  Rather than speculate now, let's just wait until the Frankfurt Motor Show starts in just a few days, and see if there are any announcements on this subject.