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The death of driving

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Last night my father and I were walking to dinner and he commented to me that he thinks my generation will be a lot healthier than his–at least on average–given how much more my generation walks. I responded by reaffirming to him how little I drive these days and how much I enjoy that.

Then today, I was watching this short clip of the The High Road with celebrity chef Mario Batali, where he interviews venture capitalist Fred Wilson. During their tour around New York City, Mario asks Fred what he thinks the future of transportation will be. Fred responds by saying that nobody will drive anymore. He then went on to say that the technology for driverless cars is already ready, but that we as a society just aren’t ready for it, yet.

Finally, on my way home from wakeboarding today, I stumbled upon this Guardian Cities article talking about Helsinki’s ambitious plan to make owning a car pointless. By 2025, the goal is have a “point-to-point mobility on-demand system” that will integrate all forms of mobility into one booking and payment platform. Think everything from public transit to carpools to taxis. 

As I read on, I then discovered that Helsinki is already offering on-demand public minibuses that allow people to specify their own routes on their smartphone. The system then aggregates all of the requests and establishes the most efficient route based on the immediate demand. Coincidentally enough, it’s quite similar to a use case I wrote about for driverless cars.

All of this got me thinking that one day we’ll probably look back at that time when people used to drive their own vehicles around as some antiquated and hilarious moment from the past.

Image: Observatoire

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