Think Big Festival in CDA

I work remotely for Tivix in gorgeous Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Just recently we had a fairly large (for our town anyway) conference about technology and innovation. The group Innovation Collective put on the conference and snagged some amazing speakers.

I wanted to share some details about the most interesting talk from that day.

Self-driving Cars

Brad Templeton started the talk with some statistics to get our head around the idea of cars driving themselves, the one that stood out most to me was:

If we combine every car in the world last year they travelled 1.2 light years”

I also didn’t realize how close we were to some of these innovations being reality, Elon Musk claims that Tesla will have a self driving car by 2016. Even today cars can self park, drive in congestion, and stay in the lines all on their own.

Environmental

One part of the problem with today’s driving landscape is that we need a car that can do everything, because we can only afford (space wise) to have so many cars. The most popular vehicle today is a Ford F-150, because it is general purpose. We all have to move a mattress or take a couch to the dump and it sure is a pain in the ass to find someone with a truck to help you.

In the future we could rent an F150 for just the day and it could drive to use and drive back to a garage when we’re done with it. We could save hundreds of millions in tons of CO2 exhaust by making more efficient choices in what we drive. Also, not to mention there are 3 parking spots per car in the US–that’s a lot of wasted real estate for cars.

Political

Thankfully, many countries are trying to become the “Center of robotic cars.” Legislation is NOT as huge of an issue as you’d think.

Some problems are exacerbated by self driving cars: potentially having to take longer trips, more suburban sprawl, and privacy issues. For example, what if there is a warrant for your arrest and the car knows that? Should the car pull to the side of the road and lock the doors until police arrive? Drive you straight to the police station?

Also it’s interesting to consider that now the effects of Moore’s Law will extend to cars as well. The next huge step in processing power could make new things achievable with your future self driving car.

Business

Imagine an army of Amazon delivery bots that work together with package grabbing bots and sorting bots. An entire ecosystem of robots that get your items, package them and drive/fly them straight to your doorstep.

We need “apollo-like” resolve about electric cars. There is the opportunity to give the US back 50 billion working hours spent commuting, save 200 million tons of CO2 and billions in the direct/indirect costs of car accidents and save countless lives lost in accidents caused by driver fatigue, distraction or plain old accidents.

I love technology and innovation, which is why I work at Tivix where we're always finding the best routes to elegant solutions. There are very exciting things ahead!

For more information on this talk please check out Robocars.com, more information about the festival can be found at Think Big Festival.