Coming Soon To A Parking Lot Near You

The ideas-unconstrained-by-reality people are busy imagining the future in a world of self-driving cars. After all, the technicians need to know what to build, and the technology is moving forward at an amazing clip.

People at the design firm IDEO came up with three possible expressions of autonomous car technology.

Pretty impressive, and they even gave one of the vehicles a friendly-sounding name.

But why not name them all?

And while you’re at it, leave a few brain cells unoccupied to do the important work of imagining the worst that could happen.

Notion #1 is Marge, a family car that looks at your e-mail and your calendar and already knows where you want to go when you get into it.

How could this fail? A car with access to your e-mail might know where you ought to go and where you’re supposed to be, but one that looks at your Internet browsing history may fully understand where you’d rather be instead. When you get in your autonomous car you might not know who’s driving – is it your Id or your Super-Ego?

I guess we’ll find out when we get there.

Notion #2 is Cody, a delivery truck that is a nimble, see-through tube reminiscent of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, except it knows where you are and what you want. Combined with Amazon’s purchase-prediction software, these babies may be orbiting your neighborhood already stocked with what the algorithm says you are going to order.

How could this fail? Salespeople will ruin this for everybody by flooding neighborhoods with delivery vehicles that are cruising advertisements for the stuff inside. Imagine the narrow snowy streets of December clogged with gift-laden vehicles, each one jockeying to catch your eye.

Notion #3 is Dante’, a roving work station that is your portable office. Let it take you and your co-workers anywhere – for inspiration or collaboration.

How could this fail? Fights over the beach vs. the scenic overlook vs. the blank downtown brickscape where I can concentrate on this damn report I have to finish! Could we turn the office around so I can have the sun coming in on MY side for once? Do we really have to co-work with them in OUR parking lot today? Why don’t they ever invite us over to their place? Is there something wrong with it?

So many idea clouds, so many gun-metal gray linings. And there are so many notions the IDEO people didn’t suggest …

Notion #4 – is Sherlock, an autonomous chase vehicle that will follow you on that blind date you dread, and provide you with a quick getaway if it’s as awful as you fear it will be.

How could this fail? Hey, it looks like someone is following us. Hang on! My last girlfriend said I’m almost good enough to be a Hollywood stunt driver!

Notion #5 – is Budge, a Parking Space Holder. If we’re going to the Ordway Saturday night I’ll send Budge over there around 4pm to orbit Rice Park looking for one of those handy metered street parking spots to open up when the matinee crowd leaves. Twenty minutes before the curtain rises we’ll head over there in the second car (“Diva”) to trade places and claim our spot while Budge ambles home.

Notion #6 – is Flash Fleet, not a single autonomous car but rather a bit of software developed by highway hackers to commandeer large numbers of autonomous vehicles to “flood the zone”, creating targeted slowdowns and traffic jams at pre-arranged times in carefully selected places. The goal – anarchy.

How could this fail? Actually, this one is a no-brainer. It’s definitely going to happen, and it will be a terrific headache.

What else could happen?

37 thoughts on “Coming Soon To A Parking Lot Near You”

  1. Rise and Shine from Sunny, Cold Philadelphia!

    The test is DONE, but I really can’t tell if I passed or not, but at least the blasted thing is over.

    Meanwhile, I would love a tourist driverless car that could take me where I program it to go. I would name it Roman.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Good morning. Off Road Eddy. This car could travel where there are no roads or where the roads are not in good shape. It would be nice to have one of these available for traveling in heavy snow in the winter. You could call it to pick you up when you get stuck in a snow storm in a normal car. However, I am afraid off road idiots would use this car to go places where cars shouldn’t go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Mommobile. Comes fully stocked with back-ups of EVERYTHING it thinks you are going to need for the day but could easily forget when you head out to the car. Also keeps track of when your library books are due and will not start until you either renew them or bring them out to the car.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. But it could have done nothing for the s&h who did gym in his uniform dress shirt and pants because he could not find the gym clothes in his backpack.

        And people wonder why I roll my eyes when they say, “he’s soooooo smart”.

        I just hope he discovers something that means he can afford to hire Jeeves.


        1. This is my assumption, Clyde.

          I used to think a wife would help, but the first girlfriend is every bit as bad as he is. Delightful and uber smart, but not one for the details of everyday living.

          Staff, I think, will be the answer.

          And no, I don’t solve it all for him, only when I think his oversight is going to really mess up someone else.


        2. If I had it to do over again, raising my son, I still would not know what to do. Now my daughter’s son, Mr Tuxedo’s reading scores in fourth grade are twelfth grade level, although that is behind where my son was at that age. The computer upon seeing his scores says that he should be reading materials appropriate to a twelfth grader. So the teacher laughed with my daughter about exactly how he is supposed to do that. He is a very good teacher and does know not to grind hum through fourth grade reading material.


        3. My 44-year-old son is in a major transition period, a part of which is career. He has spent 20 years in software production, working his way up to associate producer level, which means he has to lead a group of people, half of whom are abstract random creative people and half of whom are concrete-sequential geeks, which is like herding a group of carts to march with a group of ants. Since he is short on patience and since the producer jobs keep becoming fewer, he decided to switch careers. He enrolled in IOS Boot Camp in downtown Seattle, which means he would be a programmer for Apple-related software. It was a lighter two week period and then a very intense seven week period. The Washington employment people said they would give him a grant to do this. A week into the seven week period, the state employment people said it was not enough of a career change to qualify for the grant. The local people told him how to resubmit. It is now the end of the fifth week and he has never heard back.
          In the meantime he has been struggling to learn with 24-year-olds. He says struggling. His teachers say he is right near the top of the forty students.And he still lives 20 miles north of downtown. He has learned to get to the bus station before 6 or he gets caught up in traffic. Then the slow bus ride home to take care of his dog and study.
          They do group projects. His group did an app, which yesterday was accepted by Apple and is in their app store as free, one of the 1.something million apps available. But it is a big coup.
          In the meantime, he got fed up with one of the instructors for his impatience with students, more others than himself, and complained. The man will be fired at the end of the class, which he knows and knows whom and how he got fired. A part of the class is thorough job acquiring training and placement. The man who handles them was supposed to send out their resumes on 11/7. He finally got them out Tuesday because my son complained.
          Today his preferred place to work contacted him for an interview. The class ends the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

          Liked by 3 people

        4. The s&h was not nearly such a precocious reader as Mr. Tuxedo (he really did not read until middle of second grade. It’s funny now, but at the time much sleep was lost), but his level was pretty high by 4th grade.

          We got a lot of mileage out of older children’s books (age appropriate subject matter but with interesting vocabulary and sentence structure). The Moffats and Pinkie Pye were favorites. Phantom Tollbooth is excellent, but doubtless your daughter knows this.

          S&h also has always enjoyed non-fiction, especially science and history.

          And of course, original Winnie the Pooh has lovely language.


        5. Right now he is finally getting into Lord of the Rings. Done Harry Potter seven times. I am trying to get him to try Anne McCaffery and the like. Reads a lot of science but it is hard to find the reading level which is not too technical for his interests. Went through all this 35 years ago.


  4. Great post.
    I would call the Budge, the Tepper.
    the tim–neverparks barelyslowsdown takeslittlecapitalinvenstmenttpurchase capableofgoingthreedirectiosatonce

    the Clyde–medical appointment transportation vehicle, otherwise seldom goes out, mostly sits in the garage emitting a low grumbling noise from the three cylinder engine, comes with broken suspension.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. the Ben–converts itself from a tractor to a combine to a snowplow to a delivery van to family car. Comes with special interior lighting with a state of the art control board.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. the Republican–only turns to the right, has permanent blinders over the side windows, runs only on money, often disguises itself as a laundry van, easily distinguished from the Democrat

    the Democrat–only turns to the left, prone to flat tires, runs only on renewable energy sources, often looks like the Republican

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The Baboon– a bus/race car/jet/space vehicle/bicycle, expands to accommodate any number of passengers, plays old Late Great Morning Shows in an endless loop, cubist exterior and art deco interior, flies through the ether with ease from Portland to Dickinson to Minnesota, driven by a computer named [what was the name of the computer on the Trial Balloon?], is a branch of the Hennepin Library System . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The Nurse. It should be able to wake you up, give you coffee and breakfast at 3 a.m., take your vitals to make sure you’re healthy enough to go, and then drive you to work. So many things would improve for me if I could just get something like that.

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.