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Peter Diamandis: Three things come out of it.  Today, there are about 2 million major injuries, 50,000 losses of lives in the United States alone.  You’ll get rid of those, first and foremost.  If you care about saving 50,000 lives, that’s one option. 

The second thing is, cars will get a lot lighter because they’re not worried about it.  So, you don’t need 4,000 pounds.  1,000 is plenty.  And if you’re carrying around – the idea of a young thin woman who weighs 100 pounds driving herself around in a 4,000 pound SUV is laughable.  So, she doesn’t need that.  A thousand pounds is plenty to give you all the accoutrement, the room and such.  So, you reduce the energy usage by a large factor. 

And the third is, once all these autonomous cars know where all the other autonomous cars are, they can fan out and they can take the most efficient route to get you from one place, and you’ve gotten rid of traffic jams.  Eventually, frankly, no one’s going to own a car.  What you’re going to own is on your PDA—the ability to say, I need a car from here to here. And you can say, I need a car now, in which case they’ll charge you a premium. Or I’m willing to pay 50 cents for that drive, in which case the car willing to take your 50 cents. Or I need a Ferrari because I’m on a date.  And you’ve got this panoply of cars that you can choose from, and you will own the ability to command transportation, not the need to have a car.  So, those are the futures there. 

More from the Big Idea for Thursday, March 24 2011

 

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