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:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less