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Here's part 2 of my series on Google' s driverless car.  Love to get your reactions.
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Scott -- some of the most obvious disruptions are the hardest to avoid!
Nice article serie Chunka.
I think I will become a virtual taxi driver. 
I aspire to the same.  The hours are great, though I hear the money is not.
Awesome piece, you actually covered a few ideas that sprung to mind reading it towards the beginning later on in the article! But I can't help but think the platform you suggested would exist towards the end could be anything other than something that is as open and free as Android, if not Android itself!
Well done.   Another great piece of the story.   Even if there was major adoptions say within 5 years a lot of the changes you mentioned would take decades.     
Favorite quote from part 2: Personal-injury lawyers would see car-related cases all but disappear.
This article series is among the best I've seen- almost nobody else really gets the big picture to this level (or perhaps intentionally does not mention certain aspects of it in order not to spook the investors or segments of the public who will only relinquish their steering wheel when their rigor mortisized fingers are pried loose).

It would be great if policy makers would realize most of this sooner rather than in a decade or two- we can start saving money immediately if we start to ramp down automobile infrastructure investment in anticipation of decreased future need.

There was one mention of urban real estate falling in value because of the increased supply from reclaimed non-productive land in the form parking and roads.  This is a really complex issue but trends toward urbanization would probably counter that effect- and autonomous cars I think will accelerate urbanization by greatly increasing the efficiency and quality of life and productive density in cities even if commuting is made more tolerable than it used to be.
awesome article, really can't wait to read the next part. the only thing you brought up that I don't see happening is costs for road maintenance going down drastically. Living in New England most of the construction work I see is re-paving the weather beaten roads, during the winter the plows really hammer that asphalt and like clockwork every spring there are crews out there fixing it. Another great aspect to driverless cars would hopefully be improvements in technology helping to control the vehicle better in bad weather.
you make a good point, matt.  statistics that i've seen show that a large percentage of road construction funds are spent on widening and expansion and not enough for maintenance.  fewer cars and less congestion would mean less expansion.  but there's a lot of maintenance to catch up on...
I'm very hopeful for the days of a driverless car ad would be very eager to get one myself.

The major issue I see with the is that of any major technological advance and that's perception.

How much FUD is going to spread about these cars by groups financed by the major parties that stand to lose billions with the major spread of driverless cars? Is the UAW going to stand by if car production is cut in half? Will US steel interests?

There are so many huge industries that will be shaken up by this. It has the potential to be as big as the internet.

But it will take decades. You can't remove traffic lights until all cars are driverless. That will take time baring government intervention mandating cars be automated and I don't see politicians wanting to tackle that issue anytime soon.

But even the smaller changes will be immense. I'm excited to see how this evolves over the coming years. 
Very interesting series. 
+Kent Smith - I think it will be a ketchup effect. Starting with insurance companies offering lower rates to owners of selv driving cars (SDC). Different speed limits making SDC faster. As more people switch to SDC, highway lanes will be reserved for their use, relegating the slower, human driven cars to a single lane. Cities will start charging non-SDC to enter the city center. Suddenly it will all reach a point where everyone will switch over. 
You paint a very rosy future, but I think it's a long way off. I'm not giving up my airbags just because a Google computer is behind the wheel; I still need them if a drunk driver hits me. A lot of the advantages you site won't happen until all the cars on the road are self-driving and shared. I think there will be a big consumer resistance to the shared-car model. And what is your estimate in the length of time between when the first truly autonomous car comes online and the last human-piloted car is retired?
Cities/highly congested areas will get to mostly autonomous probably a decade after the cars become affordable, and effectively all autonomous a decade after that. Once more than 50% of voters own them in a given area the regulations favoring them will accelerate. Heavy and costly conventional safety features will decline steadily in pace with declining accident rates. Courts will be increasingly likely to permanently strip drunks and inept drivers of their license once a credible alternative to driving is available.

Enthusiasts are going to want to continue to drive but it will have to be on private roads or in rural areas. Cars that can be driven will go from an expensive necessity to expensive hobby.

+Kent Smith even if high volume traffic lights don't go away immediately it's easy to imagine crossings that were candidates for lights not getting them, or borderline existing lights being taken out to save money.
+Greg Miernicki I agree there's a strong platform opportunity.  But why free?  Many car safety features now cost thousands.  I think "free" might be part of a business model decision but not required.
+Jay Payne +Scott Johnson  regarding how long for benefits... some studies show that congestion can be significantly affected by change in small percentage of population.  some of the safety and cost benefits would accrue to early adopters immediately.  i agree secondary effects would take time.  would it depend on 100% adoption?
BTW, +Scott Johnson , if you scan "Billion-Dollar Lessons," you'll see that I'm not a utopian
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