If it lacks common sense, hi-tech might as well be Alchemy 2.0. Hi-tech tends to rearrange reality according to its own desired image. Great example: self-driving vehicles. If traffic’s innate complexity and fluidity can’t be tackled, then traffic itself and infrastructure need to be rearranged, is what developers will be pushing for. The same goes for Uber’s ride-hail business. Not Uber, but governments, legislation, chauffeurs need to adapt. Not the other way around, Uber thinks. ‘Whizkid ingenuity’ is overvalued, in my opinion. Some of 20th century’s best ideas were actually based on plain common sense. Good to know, before you start throwing away dollars into a dotcom 2.0, …


Exception to the rule? Ask yourself if the world would have known the smartphone, in its very specific shape (product format) of a sleek, black tile with rounded edges, it it weren’t for Steve Jobs. Maybe later, in a different form? Mind you: Apple brought the iPhone at a time when people weren’t exactly complaining about their mobile phones!

No more fertile ground than when a product or service manages to combine the inevitable/what’s needed with what’s desired. So, why are some things still missing? Why does the world’s largest market for consumer products show so few groundbreaking, new developments? …


Ever realized that before you can expect autonomous cars (AVs) to take over, you will at least need to phase out conventional, manually operated cars, and probably need overlaying grid control? All of this is at least ten years away yet, if ever. Self-driving vehicles will be limited to campuses, industrial parks and gated communities. As long as there are human drivers on the road, the two won’t mix. It may at least take 25 years for driverless cars to achieve ubiquity. That will happen when ALL new cars have a prescribed, standardized level of autonomy and the old existing cars slowly get junked, then eventually banned from the road. …


Aerial vehicles of the eVTOL kind (vertical takeoff and landing, electrically propelled) are hot. Question is if city councils and regulatory authorities will facilitate this exciting, new transit mode. They might where eVTOLs pose the least risk and hindrance, typically over a low-density built area. Reality is that there’s where eVTOLs are not that relevant. Highly populated urban sprawl with a congested road infrastructure, where they do matter, they will not help to substantially alleviate ground traffic, yet noise levels and safety/traffic control issues will be scrutinized even more. …


The multi-billion dollar quest for the self-driving car made me think. What can autonomous car developers learn from the movie Silence Of The Lambs?

Remember how the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter helped Clarice Starling, FBI trainee, to succeed where federal marshals, state and local police, profilers and forensic experts etc. hadn’t? Think of them as the countless robotics engineers who work feverishly on the detecting and imaging hard- and software, and the complex algorithms, in their pursuit of self-driving. Lecter teaches Starling to observe what is elementary, not incidental. …


There’s light at the end of the car tunnel. Is it an oncoming SUV, headlights blazing? Or are we about to witness daylight, no longer filtered by smog? Ask yourself: when the car has an electric motor, is controlled electronically, why hasn’t it gotten to the next stage: the car as an appliance-on-wheels?

To cut through the nonsense that is hampering personal mobility, endangering our living environment and doing its share to contribute to Climate Change, it is best to rethink the car. To do a reboot. Will Detroit ‘clean up its act’? Is Silicon Valley going to bring relief? Or will a rebellious bunch of mind-mappers, that perceives things differently, take the passenger car to its next stage? Hannibal Lecter’s lesson* to ask ourselves of each particular thing “what is it, what is its nature”, helps to throw light on what’s playing. …


Forget about the car as something cumbersome that dictates your life and robs you of the freedom it used to bring. Think ‘appliance-on-wheels’. Lean, clean, cool, fun, safe, affordable and driverless, it will slash operational as well as environmental costs, make ride-hailing profitable, with and without driver. Car makers may end up customers themselves if they fail to deliver.

Governments no longer take a backseat to the world’s biggest consumer market and product, and demand that the transition to electric cars (EV) be taken more seriously. Automakers point out that development costs time and money, and want those same governments to cough up billions in subsidies to be able to sell the electric cars. These so-called EV tax credits are more and more seen as subsidies for higher-income groups though. Given the need for affordable EVs without the pressure to subsidize them, it is remarkable that car makers including Tesla focus on selling pricey midsize to large EVs. Think of them as EVs 2.0, the EV 1.0 of course dating back to the dawn of motoring. The risk is that EV sales will fall when governments terminate EV tax credits, like Denmark already did, and countries like the UK, the Netherlands and the Trump administration are contemplating. Below two depictions that clearly portray the wasteful use of resources that EVs 2.0 bring with them. The bulkier the EV, the heavier the battery pack, the bigger the electric grid demand, the more roads tend to clog up. The comparison with arteries and obesity speaks for itself. A sleek EV 3.0 enables us to do more with less, address gridlock for instance. Below: Why Tesla is soooo EV 2.0, …

About

Ralph Panhuyzen

Identify how high-tech bypasses common sense to sell us a solution that frequently misses the point | country: Netherlands

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