by Mish

Today, Portland stepped up to the plate. “The technology is coming,” says Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Either the technology will happen to us, or we are going to shape the playing field.”

Bloomberg reports Portland Opens Its Streets to Self-Driving Cars.

Autonomous vehicles need to drive and drive and drive, vacuuming up hours of real-life encounters on the road to make their algorithms smarter and safer.

But there’s one thing in relatively short supply: cities willing to have test cars on their streets. Portland, Oregon, is trying to change that and be what it says would be the first to issue permits for driverless vehicles, with the goal of getting them on its roads this year.

“The technology is coming,” says Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Either the technology will happen to us, or we are going to shape the playing field.”

The city will solicit proposals from companies working on driverless cars to gauge how they can help Portland reach its goals of reducing carbon emissions and providing equitable service. The city would also consider providing financial support for businesses to test autonomous transit vehicles, such as shuttles or buses, that could potentially connect passengers to its existing transit infrastructure. Wheeler says two years of pilot testing would inform final rules: “If we wait five years, my concern is we are not going to have a say in the matter at all.”

General Motors, Lyft Inc., and Daimler AG were among those that wanted to partner with Portland on autonomous transportation as part of Portland’s submission for the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge last year.
If the city’s plan works out, driverless cars can learn more about maneuvering in the rain while dodging Portland’s many modes of transit, from light rail trains and buses, to pedestrians and unicycles.

Most Disruptive Force Since the Internet

Some of my readers think I am obsessed with this topic, and most of those who do, still have their heads buried in the sand believing driverless technology is decades away from happening.

By now it should be crystal clear the nay-sayers are all wet. Driverless is going to happen, in a major way, by 2022 at the latest.

I write about the topic because driverless technology is the most disruptive force since the internet. It will bring about major changes in the car ownership, the way people commute, and the need for insurance.

Accident rates will plunge. The gas station model and the car dealer model will have major changes as well. Instead of buying two cars at $20,000 to $40,000 each, families will share a single car. A growing percentage those who live in major cities will choose to not have a car at all.

Instead of buying two cars at $20,000 to $40,000 each, families will share a single car. A growing percentage those who live in major cities will choose to not have a car at all.

Mass Adoption When?

Driverless long haul trucks will be the norm within two years of interstate approval. I expect approval by 2021 at the latest.

In contrast to trucks, mass adoption by the general public will not be immediate, but it will progress rapidly within a decade.

Portland now leads the charge in testing. Competition between cities is sure to heat up. Expect another dozen announcements this year.

Study Says by 2030 1/4th of Miles Driven will be Driverless. I expect 85 percent of miles driven will be driverless by 2030.

For further discussion, please consider Second-Order Consequences of Self-Driving Vehicles.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Uber Halts Driverless Tests Following Fatal Crash

An Uber driverless car struck and killed a person in Tempe, Arizona. Uber halted all tests.

Japan Expects Driverless Taxis by 2020; UK Testing Fleets of Driverless Trucks.

Driverless taxis, driverless trucks, and totally unstaffed grocery stores are in the news. In the “already here” category, Sweden boasts the first unstaffed grocery store. In the UK, fleet testing of driverless trucks begins in 2017. In Japan, 2020 is the deadline date for driverless taxis.

What a City With Driverless Cars Will Look Like (In 10 Years or Less)

My vision of driverless trucks and taxis within the time frame of six to eight years looks downright feeble to that of Chris Dixon, a partner at prestigious Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.

GM Tests Fleet of 46 Robocar Taxis in SF: Driverless Car Timeline Promises by Manufacturer

Robocar testing in Silicon Valley is underway. Wired reports GM’S Robocar Service Drives Employees Around SF for Free.

Study Says by 2030 1/4th of Miles Driven will be Driverless

A convergence of three trends – Ride Sharing, Autonomous Driving, and Vehicle Electrification—will offer big-city dwellers cheap, convenient transportation, transforming the automotive industry, says a report by the Boston Consulting group.

This Ride Will be Different: Completely Driverless Has Arrived

Have the car to yourself. Completely driverless commercial cars are now in operation.

Kroger Starts Driverless Delivery Test in Arizona, GM Targets 2019

Kroger teems up with Nuro, a car with no steering wheel or brake pedals, for driverless delivery in Arizona.

World’s First Commercial Driverless Delivery: 45,000 Cans of Beer

Otto, a driverless technology company bought out by Uber, just completed its first driverless mission.

Major Taxi Disruption on Horizon: California Driverless Cars by April

Driverless cars, with no person in the vehicle, may come to California as soon as April if rules are approved Monday.