While many people imagine the convenience and accessibility that self-driving cars will offer in the near future, we forget that like many luxuries, this will come at the cost of privacy and freedom.
Autonomous vehicles are set to rely on a plethora of sensors and data in order to both ensure a safe ride and to provide you with the convenient features that many will look for in a new-age car.
This includes, a centrally-controlled data network, in which car companies, insurers and government bureaucracies, can track, tax and control drivers.
The tech elite are attempting to transform the automobile from a symbol of freedom into yet another surveillance node in their control system, Ethan Nash argues.
Autonomous vehicles, or AVs, are set to change the way we think of travel in the near future, but there are concerns regarding the extent of their benefits and unintended consequences.
If you believe the forecasts from carmakers, bus operators and trucks companies, the first driverless vehicles should be live in a few years – and every brand from Mercedes to Ford will have one.
Since Google released its first fleet of AVs in 2010, developments in AV technology have accelerated significantly. Experts estimate that auto-companies will roll out AVs in the market in 2020 and AVs are expected to occupy a quarter of the world market by 2040.
The technology has already seen both trial and live rollouts in various countries and is set to be underpinned by a network of interconnected, data-sharing technologies.
Robo-taxis are already available in certain locations, such as San Francisco, operating inside of a defined, fully-mapped zone, at restricted speeds and available only to selected customers.
Videos show the cars coping with San Francisco’s complex road environment, including trams and double-parked cars – sparking a rapid advancement in the timeline of AV progression.
Director of Urban Mobility for GM International, Anthony Riemann, predicts “…for the technology to mature quickly, we need to go to scale. It won’t take long before it’s available to the public”.
Australia is experiencing an increased shift towards autonomous technology in vehicles, underpinned by surveillance capabilities that can document and record activity in new model releases.
Currently, 15 similar trials are underway in Australia, with RAC’s Intellibus in Perth ahead of the pack. In operation for three years, it’s one of only a handful worldwide coping with live traffic.
This includes the autonomous mini-bus travelling around Sydney’s Olympic Park, which is one of hundreds undergoing trials across the world.
Controversial ‘driver assistance technology’ is already on the way in the future, including black-box data recorders, which monitor everything from a vehicle’s speed to ‘driver condition’.
To get an idea of what these vehicles will be like, when you next drive to work, mindlessly obey every traffic law to the letter. Don’t exceed the posted speed limit – even when getting up to speed.
EVERYONE OFF THE ROAD
Despite the changes predicted to boost Australia’s GDP, many industry experts also concede that there remains many unknowns and variables.
Economic modelling predicts innovative transport systems led by AVs will generate $62 billion in Australia, and with this change, you will be in the minority if you own a car by 2050.
According to a new report by LEK Consulting, Australia is set reap billions of dollars via the adoption of ‘new mobility’, while private vehicle ownership dries up almost completely.
Electric vehicles (EV), AVs, ride-sharing, car-sharing and a wider range of public transport options will negate the need for personal vehicles, says the firm.
Under these estimates, robo-taxis will account for around half of Australian household transport costs by 2050, with the next biggest outlay being public transport at 25 per cent.
The development of highly-sophisticated ‘smart cities’ across Australia will accompany this transition, allowing for advanced automated data collection through new network capabilities.
Australia has seen locations such as Perth, Newcastle, Darwin, Melbourne and Sydney all begin building smart infrastructure in various locations, equipped with facial recognition CCTV monitoring.
Under this vision, when you get in your self-driving car to go to work, it will first suggest that it drives you to work. Then, along the way, it may suggest a stop at a local coffee shop, before alerting you to various sales items you may need along your route to work.
Andrew Frankel, a Drive Nation journalist, described in an article that “..our cars will retain every detail of your every journey, and you don’t need to be an Orwell scholar to spot something disturbingly Big Brother about that”.
Painted as the answer to our worries of human error on the roads and guided by an unwavering need for security, many are failing to recognize what these mechanisms will ultimately bring about.
It all may sound great, however, in order to make these suggestions, the vehicle will need both intimate knowledge of your life and greater access to deliver tailored experiences.
This feature piece continues to cover:
‘Driver Assist’ Technology, 5G and Smart Grid Links, Full Spectrum Surveillance, Big Tech Backdoors, Agenda 2030 and much more!
Ethan Nash from TOTT News has published this article in the latest edition of New Dawn Magazine — available in newsagents across Australia or directly online by clicking the link below:
New Dawn 178 | New Dawn Magazine
Preparing for Automated Vehicles | Department of Infrastructure
Few Aussies will own cars in 2050, predicts new study | Motoring Australia
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