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The Future of Driving Is Now a Gold Rush (Mark Harris)

Blink and you might miss the moment automated vehicles go mainstream. At some point in 2017, a fully autonomous Tesla will blast across the country en route from Los Angeles to New York. The person sitting in the front left seat — let’s no longer call her the driver — will be free to watch a movie, drink a latte, or wave to locals as she zips past. If Elon Musk has his way, the tech will then roll out to drivers in 2018…

Source: The Future of Driving Is Now a Gold Rush

Elon Musk’s Wild Ride – Biographer Ashlee Vance examines the troubles at Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity (Ashlee Vance)

Elon Musk recently took the stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, for the performance he’s waited a lifetime to give. Sporting a new, oddly manicured mustache, Musk did his best shy Tony Stark impersonation, informing a crowd of space enthusiasts that, yes, he does plan to colonize Mars. Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, will send thousands of rockets and people to the Red Planet—perhaps within the decade and perhaps at a cost of just $10 billion. Some of the astronauts will die as part of the experiment. Others will live out their days in … well, Musk was not very specific on that…

Source: Elon Musk’s Wild Ride

Great piece on the Future of Transportation & Mobility: Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service (Ben Thompson)

In the eight months since I wrote Cars and the Future, there has been an explosion in news about the future of transportation, much of it in the last few weeks:

  • Ford announced plans for its own car-sharing service built around self-driving Fords
  • Elon Musk penned a second master plan envisioning a future car-sharing service built around self-driving Teslas
  • Nutonomy launched a trial in Singapore of its own ride-sharing service built around Renault and Mitsubishi vehicles modified to be self-driving
  • Uber announced its own self-driving trial in Pittsburgh in partnership with Volvo. Uber alsoacquired self-driving startup Otto, founded by former members of Google’s self-driving team
  • And, speaking of Google, Alphabet executive David Drummond stepped down from Uber’s board a day before the company announced an expansion of its Waze-based ride-sharing service from Israel to Uber’s home city of San Francisco

Source: Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Often underestimated: Driverless Cars Need Just One Thing – Futuristic Roads (Brent Skorup)

Driverless cars have moved with remarkable speed from DARPA-funded fantasy to picking up passengers on the streets of Pittsburgh. The excitement is justified, in part, because there’s much to gain. A single, shared autonomous vehicle could replace roughly 11 privately-owned vehicles, according to a recent University of Texas study. By reducing the number of cars on the road, self-driving vehicles could cut traffic, emissions, and urban sprawl, while improving safety and saving money for the millions of households that would no longer have to own a vehicle.

Yet we’re still a long way from adopting a futuristic fleet of driverless vehicles, and the main obstacle is navigation. Manufacturers teach their cars to move by employing fleets of drivers who travel the streets in ordinary cars, scanning for changes in previously mapped roads…

Source: Driverless Cars Need Just One Thing: Futuristic Roads

A great Longread: The Third Transportation Revolution – Lyft’s Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond (John Zimmer)

I remember when I first fell in love with cars. It started small with Hot Wheels when I was three and Micromachines when I was six. Everything about them was fast and exciting — even the commercials were narrated by the World’s Fastest Talker. I loved them.

Then, when I turned 12, my dad and I began taking annual trips to see the real thing at the New York International Auto Show. I looked forward to going every year, because even at that young age, I felt a connection to cars and the freedom they represented…

Source: The Third Transportation Revolution – Medium

Electric vehicles – It’s not just about the Car (Michael Liebreich, Angus McCrone)

One of the key characteristics of complex systems, such as the world’s energy and transport sectors, is that when they change it tends not to be a linear process. They flip from one state to another in a way strongly analogous to a phase change in material science. We have written about this before, for instance here and here.A second important characteristic of this type of economic phase change is that when one major sector flips, the results rip through the whole economy and can have impacts on the societal scale…

Source: Liebreich and McCrone: Electric vehicles – It’s not just about the car – Bloomberg New Energy Finance

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