“it’s unlikely that any on-road vehicles will feature “fully autonomous” drive technology in the short term (for instance, by 2020–22)”
–McKinsey, June 2015
Possibly jealousy of its eye-watering fees, I enjoy seeing McKinsey proved wrong. All of punditry has been caught off-guard by the neck-snapping acceleration of autonomous vehicle (AV) adoption.
Uber made the headlines last year when it unleashed a fleet of self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh. The Regulatory Capital of America, the State of California, approved true driverless AVs in April, joining a number of other states, all eager to become the center of a new industry. While Uber’s expansion has been stalled by a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona, the level of investment in AVs across a number of firms is very significant. The apparent industry leader, Google-spinout Waymo, reports 7 million miles of impressive performance. The question is no longer “if autonomous vehicles?” but “when?” Read more »
Arthur Gardner was an electrician. Born in 1883, one year after Thomas Edison turned on the lights for 59 customers in Lower Manhattan, my grandfather was part of a new and rapidly growing occupation. He spent his workdays running wire through the homes of Chicago’s wealthy South Shore neighborhood. Electricity displaced the use of coal gas, which, in its turn, had displaced oil lamps and candles. Just as gas lighting propelled an expansion of industrial production and improved literacy, electricity—good for so much more than lighting—made vast new industries possible.
Arthur raised a family of gearheads—amateur engineers who tinkered with every kind of technology. My father began a career in computers in 1960, taking night classes in computer programming languages throughout my childhood. Coding books—FORTAN, COBOL, RPG—littered our basement. When our car needed winter “ballast” for snowy streets, we threw in 8 or 10 boxes of IBM cards. I still have a few. Read more »