Disruptive Technology Brings a Whole New Meaning to the Word Fetch
Okay, maybe I am a bit ahead of myself… but not for long. I was reading an article in Gizmag about the status of driverless vehicles and thought how close we’ve come to this milestone.
Autonomous vehicles had been under research for some years when DARPA, the U.S. military’s research organization, initiated the Urban Challenge in 2007. The goal was to reward the team that could build an autonomous vehicle that would successfully navigate a simulated city environment.
Why would DARPA care about our cars driving us to work so that we might read the newspaper, shave or put on makeup? (Wait, I’ve seen some of you doing this already!)
Well, DARPA doesn’t care about our commute. DARPA wants to be able to send driverless military supply trucks through hostile areas and development based on these early challenges continues.
Self-driving vehicles are a great example of a disruptive technology unfolding in front of us that will affect many people (and maybe, dogs).
My predictions for our non-military options:
• Letting the car drive kids to school while the parents stay at home and drink their morning coffee.
• Having a few too many drinks at the restaurant or bar and letting the car drive us home (or to another bar?)
• Picking up take-out Chinese on the way home and eating family-style in the car.
• Leaving my car on the street so that it can taxi someone else around when they need it and I don’t.
• Teaching my dogs to drive by having a big button they can bump to take them to the park or dog sitter’s. The trick here will be training them to press the “Veterinarian” button!
• Meeting my spouse to share a ride and sending the car home to the garage.
• Taking a nap on the way to that early morning meeting.
As with all disruptive technologies, there will be a shift in the market served. In this case, the disruption will be largest in industries using hired drivers (cabs, busses, limos).
Additional collateral disruptions will ripple out as people discover that they have more time to work or play as riders, not drivers.
Now, I’m off to find some phone books for my two dachshunds to sit on for those driving lessons.
Picture credit: Ludovic Bertron (Wikimedia)