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Old 7th November 2017, 19:29   #1
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Default Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Bob Lutz -- the car guru, who's worked for car companies such as GM, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, and been instrumental in the design of Dodge Viper among others -- has a new piece on Automotive News titled:
Kiss the good times goodbye
'Everyone will have 5 years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap'

http://www.autonews.com/article/2017...GNED/171109944

This is a beautiful piece on where the auto industry is headed, in the age of self-driving cars. To spoil the suspense, he thinks we are at the end of the automotive era.

Some highlights from his analysis:

Quote:
For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.

Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.

He thinks humans will soon be banned from driving.
Quote:
The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years at the latest human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.

Of course, there will be a transition period. Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap or trade it on a module.

He thinks this will be the end of performance cars and car styling.

Quote:
But the performance will be the same for all because nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway. That is the death knell for companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. That kind of performance is not going to count anymore.
...
The importance of styling will be minimized because the modules in the high-speed trains will have to be blunt at both ends. There will be minimum separation in the train. Air resistance will be minimal because the modules will just be inserted into the train and spat out when you get close to your exit.

He thinks human-driven (performance) cars soon will become like the (race) horses of today.

Finally, he thinks auto-enthusiast magazines (and forums, presumably) will be history, including perhaps the present one.

Quote:
And I think Automotive News is doomed. Car and Driver is done; Road & Track is done. They are all facing a finite future. They'll be replaced by a magazine called Battery and Module read by the big fleets.

Makes for grim reading. But, given the direction the wind is blowing, I think it is certainly in the realm of the plausible.

What do you guys think? India will probably be among the last to get to this (dystopian ) future, but we may not be too far.
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Old 7th November 2017, 19:39   #2
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

'Everyone will have 5 years to get their cars off the road or sell it for scrap'

And motorcycles ruled the roads happily ever after!

On a more serious note - this will not come to India for a long time, may be much longer than we would enjoy driving. But yes - our generation will probably be the last to be allowed to enjoy driving.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 7th November 2017 at 19:41.
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Old 7th November 2017, 19:57   #3
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Humans are intelligent - we will come up with cars that can accurately mimic the cars we drive today, right down to the sound, power and handling characteristics and even niggles .

This may not happen immediately, but I'm sure someone will come up with such contraptions - that emit 0 pollutants but give you the same feeling like today's gas guzzlers.

I can already imagine the future Abarth Punto, a car that will have a random timer on it - to mimic breakdowns .
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Old 7th November 2017, 20:22   #4
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Although we say that such things will not come to India in the near future, given the rate at which our traffic is increasing and considering the fact that even today a large majority of people buy/use cars just as means to get from point A to B, if there is a real breakthrough in the technology and the cost, I won't be surprised if such an adoption happens at a exponential rate in India.

This maybe closer than we think it is.
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Old 7th November 2017, 20:57   #5
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Although we say that such things will not come to India in the near future... I won't be surprised if such an adoption happens at a exponential rate in India.

This maybe closer than we think it is.
Absolutely. "Objects in the future are closer than they appear." Want proof? Just take a look at this thread dated 4 FEB 2006:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ork-india.html (Will GPS work in India ?)
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Old 7th November 2017, 21:13   #6
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
Absolutely. "Objects in the future are closer than they appear." Want proof? Just take a look at this thread dated 4 FEB 2006:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ork-india.html (Will GPS work in India ?)
Good one. Another example on 4G. This is from a post immediately following 4G launch in India in April 2012. Today even my small tier 4 home town has 3-4 strong 4G providers.

Quote:
This Dont see the point of this launch. Unlike the 3G launch where we already had 3G capable devices.Is there a single 4G capable device in the country? a 4G phone or 4G modems?Who is going to test/try out this new network and how? the least Airtel could have done was to simultaneously launch a number of 4G devices to go along with their new network
Of course, it is a giant leap of logic comparing a telecommunication technology to something inherently more complex. But the point is how soon things can explode if the right parameters fall in place.
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Old 7th November 2017, 22:11   #7
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Not sure about human-driven cars, but automotive forums will still live on. For example, we have literally thousands of smartphone forums.

Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars-forum.jpg

20 years from now, I will be posting as smartbot though.

Last edited by smartcat : 7th November 2017 at 22:36.
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Old 7th November 2017, 22:29   #8
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

The time frames put forth by the writer could be argued over but not the direction or inevitability. Auto enthusiasts may not agree but like the manual telephone exchange, steam rail engine, gramaphone record cars as we know will fade away and the self driven car will come and become the standard. The need will be pushed by :-

1. Safety,
2. lack of parking space
3. need for right powered (as opposed to over powered) cars,
4. economies of usage ...
... will drive the trend and the regulation. Those who enjoy driving may not like this. ‎

85% of the population will like it. The well off in India are already partly there, they can operate their cars through voice command alone. My mother or aunt or wife just have to say, "Ram Singh gaadi lekar aao" (Ram Singh get the car); then another voice command, "Ram Singh Connaught Place chalo" and automatically they get transported. Viola.

The piece I don't agree with is on all units looking alike. Since ancient times house, carriage and clothes have been a chief distinguishing feature of a person's status, power and ego. I suspect looks and size might still distinguish one autonomous car from another.

Till then Ram Singh rules.
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Old 7th November 2017, 22:30   #9
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

While this reads like a good editorial, it is hollow on facts.
First, autonomous cars are unlikely to be the rage in the next decade. No country has legalized them and even the tests in developed, first world countries have encountered accidents.
Second, it is not about technology alone. Had that been the case, all factories would have been manned by robots by now. Anyone in the manufacturing sector knows that robots are nowhere close to being as good as humans for qualitative jobs.
Third, developing countries will remain an exception. Today, if you offer a driverless Swift at 10 lakhs, and a normal one at 6 lakhs, most people would prefer the normal one. It is not because they hate technology. It is because they believe that a car is meant to be driven, and not meant to be a robot. I am saying this because I asked a few people who were first time car buyers in India. They all said that they'd prefer to drive at least while they can.

I'm hopeful that Autonomous buses make public transportation cheaper in cities that have bus lanes. But in a country where even passenger trains have 3 pilots, it would not be easy to sell an autonomous Swift.
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Old 8th November 2017, 08:25   #10
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

I feel this will surely come sooner that we think.
If we look at the growth and obsolescence in the recent past, obsolescence is happening in a faster pace

1. LP to Tape: Long Time
2 Tape to CD: Some what short
3. CD to DVD: Quite fast
4. DVD to USB: too fast

Land Line to Mobile: Long time
Mobile to Data: Some time
Data to 3G: Quite fast
3G to 4: Pretty fast

Incandescent Bulb to Tube: Long time
Tubelight to CFL: Short
CFL to LED: Quite fast

TV to LCD
LCD to OLED


May be we can argue that after the advent of Plastics or may be Computer (Transistors/IC), technology is moving at a very fast pace compared to couple of decades back.
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Old 8th November 2017, 08:44   #11
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post

The piece I don't agree with is on all units looking alike. Since ancient times house, carriage and clothes have been a chief distinguishing feature of a person's status, power and ego. I suspect looks and size might still distinguish one autonomous car from another.

Till then Ram Singh rules.
Maybe there will be a niche for a modern version of carriage building!
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Old 8th November 2017, 09:27   #12
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Bob Lutz is kind of late coming to this conclusion...

When we discussed this topic last year, I said the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Insurance companies know that the biggest cause of automobile accidents are humans, both smart and dumb ones. And they are waiting for the time when driverless cars are practical, and then they will force the governments to make self-driving cars illegal or very expensive. They will argue that a traffic system that is devoid of any human drivers is much more safer than current traffic system. And that is true. Besides, they will reduce the insurance cost for driverless cars, and increase the insurance premium for self-driven cars by many times, to reflect the risk factor. That will force more and more people migrate to driverless cars.

Eventually, selfdriven cars will have the same fate as horse riding, a mere hobby that can be indulged only in tracks or rural settings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Right now, on average private cars spend 96% of their time parked somewhere. Yes, the utilization of private car is about 4%. And they spend this time parked in expensive real estate called parking lot. Driverless cars will allow us not to own cars at all. Imagine driverless Uber cars. There will be no driver tantrums, the closest available driverless rental car will accept your request, all the time. Only people living in remote areas need to own cars, which can still be driverless.

This will take out 90% of the private cars out of circulation. And bikes, why do you need bikes when air conditioned cars can take you anywhere?

Not convinced? New York city went from 99% horse driven traffic to 99% automobile driven traffic in just 13 years. Once you hit that inflection point, there is no return.
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Old 8th November 2017, 09:41   #13
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Default re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
And motorcycles ruled the roads happily ever after!
Well! Not so lucky, looks like riding is also going away.



Autonomous driving is very much near! And when it's here, I doubt whether we will be allowed to drive or ride on public roads for commute. It will be limited to only tracks or circuits purely for fun. After all, humans are considered the weakest link on road when connected cars arrive.




Note to self: It's time to buy that turbo petrol!
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Old 9th November 2017, 19:54   #14
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Default Re: Bob Lutz on the endgame of human-driven cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolvenk View Post
What do you guys think? India will probably be among the last to get to this (dystopian ) future, but we may not be too far.
Here are few facts about India:
  • India gets outdated version of most of the cars
  • Companies with futuristic technologies are not being encouraged to enter India (eg. Tesla Motors)
  • Pollution norms are mandatory only for selected cities because of which old vehicles are sold to smaller cities
  • Policy to scrap the old car is either not present or not implemented
  • Cigarettes causes cancer, but still being sold

Because of the above mentioned reasons, I feel India might not be the last, but will get this only when there will be no other option left.
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Old 9th November 2017, 20:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nissan1180 View Post
While this reads like a good editorial, it is hollow on facts.
First, autonomous cars are unlikely to be the rage in the next decade. No country has legalized them and even the tests in developed, first world countries have encountered accidents.
Second, it is not about technology alone. Had that been the case, all factories would have been manned by robots by now. Anyone in the manufacturing sector knows that robots are nowhere close to being as good as humans for qualitative jobs.
Third, developing countries will remain an exception. Today, if you offer a driverless Swift at 10 lakhs, and a normal one at 6 lakhs, most people would prefer the normal one. It is not because they hate technology. It is because they believe that a car is meant to be driven, and not meant to be a robot. I am saying this because I asked a few people who were first time car buyers in India. They all said that they'd prefer to drive at least while they can.

I'm hopeful that Autonomous buses make public transportation cheaper in cities that have bus lanes. But in a country where even passenger trains have 3 pilots, it would not be easy to sell an autonomous Swift.
I completely agree with this. The gramophone might have been replaced by a CD but people still listen to old music, don't they? Machines will never replace a human being. The day they do that, forget driving, as a race, we are all doomed.

And what about bikes I wonder? Will they vanish all together or they will be ridden riderless side by side to these driverless pods? Food for thought.

Last edited by Aditya : 10th November 2017 at 11:41. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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