Autonomous Cars 101 with Brad Templeton

Tired of driving? Soon hitting the road will be as simple as pressing a button, sitting back, and relaxing while a hard drive does all the work.

Tired of driving? Soon hitting the road will be as simple as pressing a button, sitting back, and relaxing while a hard drive does all the work.


Depending on where you live, most people rely on their cars. This leads to some staggering statistics: over 33,000 Americas are killed every year in car accidents; 1.2 million killed around the world. The autonomous car will greatly reduce those rates and make driving safer for everyone. We may not have the flying cars of “The Jetsons” yet, but this is certainly a welcomed improvement.

To understand how close we are to seeing self-driving cars on the road, Big Think sat down with Brad Templeton, a renowned software architect and a consultant on Google’s driverless car project, at Exponential Finance, presented by Singularity University & CNBC. What do we have to look forward to, according to Templeton? These cars will be lighter, electric, and intelligent.

“We're going to rewrite really important elements of our society when we make transportation one of these computerized technologies,” says Templeton. “It's going to change a lot more of our lives than people think to have cars that are smart in this way.”

By 2020, “smart cars” (not the German brand—Smart—currently out on the market) will be popping up on freeways. Will their popularity spread like the smart phone craze? Templeton is optimistic, especially given their amazing potential to transform the world.

“These vehicles are so efficient that they don't just beat out the cars we're riding in now, they beat out the trains and the buses, even in Manhattan, even in Japan,” he says. “That's how efficient small lightweight electric vehicles can be at carrying people in terms of energy used to send a person a mile.”

The rise of smart cars will transform geo-politics. Oil rich countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia will be disrupted by this technology as earth-friendly vehicles take over. “This would mean the United States would no longer have to import oil from overseas,” he says. “It also means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 200 million tons.”

For more on Templeton’s insights into smart cars, visit his Robocars site, and watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching.
  • Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression.
  • And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.


A bionic lens undergoing clinical trials could soon give you superhuman abilities

We're talking Ghost in the Shell type of stuff. 

popular

Maybe you watched Ghost in the Shell and maybe afterwards you and your friend had a conversation about whether or not you would opt in for some bionic upgrades if that was possible - like a liver that could let you drink unlimitedly or an eye that could give you superhuman vision. And maybe you had differing opinions but you concluded that it's irrelevant because the time to make such choices is far in the future. Well, it turns out, it's two years away.

Keep reading Show less

The philosophy of tragedy & the tragedy of philosophy - with Simon Critchley

Tragedy in art, from Ancient Greece to Breaking Bad, resists all our efforts to tie reality up in a neat bow, to draw some edifying lesson from it. Instead it confronts us with our own limitations, leaving us scrabbling in the rubble of certainty to figure out what's next.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Why democracy has been unpopular with philosophers
  • Tragedy's reminder that the past isn't finished with us
  • …and why we need art in the first place
Keep reading Show less