The Google self driving car is the future of road transportation. It seems that the days of speeding drivers threatening the lives of other road users and pedestrians could soon be over. The future of road transportation has been thought of for a very long time, with automated cars that would follow sensors in the roadway allowing you to read the newspaper or have a snooze on the long commute on the highway, instead of the stress and frustration associated with the current road transport system that is prone to gridlock and road crashes. of course you need to upgrade the roads as well to install such modern technology, but the result would be no speeding drivers and safer overall street and highway travel. Ever since the old Beyond 2000 television show and the many science fiction movies that had driver-less vehicles, namely the amazing film “Logans Run” that had a overhead rail system with small cars that you get into and they take you anywhere around the self contained city. That is another good idea that would build the city of the future, with no buses on the roads, just an electric monorail system that is silent and fast shuttling people around the city with less pollution than a diesel powered bus. That and the electric driver-less cars would make our cities cleaner and quieter indeed, with no loud hoons and noisy buses driving around all the time.
We do need to use less oil, the future of our civilization depends on using less fossil fuels and moving to greener alternatives to make our air cleaner for everyone. I am sure we can manage this with our current technology, we have the X 37-B space craft that is autonomous, able to take off and land by itself, so we can surely manage to build cars that are safer and quieter than the machines we have now. The petrol engine is not even that efficient, a lot of the energy from burning fuel becomes heat energy that warms up the engine block necessitating water cooling to take away the heat. An electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle could be much quieter and better for the environment. The Google X labs would be the people behind this. They are planning all kinds of amazing technologies such as a space elevator and of course the driverless cars that are set to change our cities if they are put into practice. It is the 21st century and we are still using fossil fuels to get around when we could be using the more modern technologies that we have developed. If we develop these technologies and make our cities safer, then we will all be happier and healthier.
The introduction to Beyond 2000 showed a world rather like Blade Runner with flying cars and robots assisting people in their day-to-day lives, yet it is 2012 and we still have the same things that we had in 1984, the roads clogged with cars and polluting vehicles moving our freight over highways. I would hope they will find a way to remove the noisy and polluting trucks that are damaging our roads and are driving at illegal speeds endangering other road users. Some engineers are working on giant airships that could carry huge amounts of freight and free up our roads. But the best way to free up our congested roads and carry freight is to go back to carrying freight by rail instead of having trucks carrying shipping containers full of goods. Some railway tracks in Australia are rusting away and the roads are being damaged by the trucks that are sometimes with two trailers on the back. In 2012, we should have better technology for carrying freight than that. There is some work in progress on Hydrogen fuel cells to power trucks, which will cut the pollution due to the diesel fuel they use and the dangerous fumes the exhaust has.
This is very promising indeed and gives us hope of a cleaner future.