Autonomous Cars: Within a Decade?
If you look at the evolution of the automobile, you'll notice that there have never been any radical changes. Will we see any in the near future? Director of Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design Geoff Wardle certainly hopes so.
"If we are going to continue to use automobiles in any big way, we have to be much more selective as end users in making sure we use the right vehicle for the right job," he says. This means they need to be more energy efficient, take up less space and... autonomous. That is, the cars should virtually drive themselves. Sound like a crazy idea? You're not alone. "If cars can be engineered to drive themselves reliably without crashing into each other, then you can make the cars a lot lighter still because you don’t have to engineer them to be light tanks." When could this happen? Wardle predicts sometime within the next decade. We're starting to the see the beginnings of it already.
As part of this series, every Wednesday until April 7, we will release new interviews with people who are changing the way we get from here to there, from entrepreneurs to policy makers. So far, we've featured interviews with Richard Schaden, Aeronautical engineer and founder of Beyond The Edge; Mitchell Joachim, founder of Terreform ONE; Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogata; Felix Kramer, founder of the non-profit, California Cars Initiative; famous aerospace engineer Burt Rutan; director of MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities Group Bill Mitchell; and PhD at MIT Media Lab, Ryan Chin. The schedule for the following weeks is as follows:
· March 24: Nathan Lewis, Professor of Chemistry, at the California Institute of Technology.
· March 31: Joseph Sussman—Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Specializing in "Complex, Large-Scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical" strategic transportation systems.
· March 31: Douglas Malewicki, Aerospace engineer and inventor of the SkyTran, a Personal Rapid Transit system that uses magnetic levitation tracks to achieve the equivalent of over 200 miles per gallon fuel economy at 100 miles per hour or faster.
· April 7: Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, which promotes the formation of space tourism and other major milestones and the co-Founder of Space Adventures.
· April 7: Michael Schrage-- Research fellow with the Sloan School of Management's Center for Digital Business and a visiting fellow at Imperial College's London 'Innovation and Entrepreneurship' program.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.