“Autopilot” Self-Parking

Hate parking cars in tight spaces in garages or streets? I certainly do. Tesla has a solution: Software Upgrade Lets Cars Park Themselves With No Driver.

Owners of Model S and Model X sedans will be able to park them while standing outside the vehicle if it’s within 33 feet (10 meters) of a garage or narrow space, Tesla said Sunday on the eve of the Detroit auto show. The cars can also be summoned from a parking spot, according to the company, which said the tools remain in a beta, or test, version.

Tesla, co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has distinguished itself by automatically pushing over-the-air software updates to customers, refreshing the vehicles with new and enhanced functions.

Force of Competition

What starts with Tesla, won’t stay with Tesla.

GM, Ford, Toyota, BMW will all soon have this feature. Competition guarantees that outcome.

Automation won’t stop at 33 feet, or with parking in general. Driverless transport to and from airports and around college campuses is the logical next step.

I have been making such statements for several years, and every time I do, I get copious numbers of emails citing a litany of reasons why I am wrong.

Actually, it now appears this may happen even sooner than I thought.

Completely Driverless Public Transport Test in Arizona

Spectrum reports Uber Could Be First to Test Completely Driverless Cars in Public

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has made no secret about wanting robots to replace human drivers in his rideshare service—and now he’s found somewhere to develop them. Last month, the governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, paved the way for the world’s first driverless taxis on public roads.

Several U.S. states already permit autonomous vehicle tests but all require a human in the driver’s seat should the technology unexpectedly fail. While safety drivers might suit auto makers like Tesla that are building “autopilots” to help motorists avoid accidents on boring motorway journeys, Uber ultimately wants to eliminate human drivers altogether.

Governor Ducey championed ridesharing regulations that allowed Uber to operate legally in Arizona, and Uber opened a customer service center in the state in June. During August’s press conference, the company announced a US $25,000 donation to the University of Arizona, and committed to fund research into mapping and self-driving technologies there.

Ducey’s executive order looks to have been written with Uber in mind. It requires that Arizona’s driverless vehicle pilot programmes take place on the campuses of public universities, such as the University of Arizona. It also directs the state’s Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and “all other agencies” to “undertake any necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads within Arizona.”

This means that when Uber does reveal its self-driving taxi, it should be able to legally drive paying customers around the University from day one, which may not be too far off.

Drivers Not Needed

Once again, competition is in play, this time between states, not companies.

Take things to the proper conclusion: Paid taxi drivers will vanish.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock