Sunday, January 13, 2013

The revenge of faster horses

In 2012, a poll initiated by Bosch, asking about driverless cars acceptance among drivers stirred lot of comments last year: Majority of today’s drivers are not ready yet to be “driven” by automated cars.

Should this stop the effort of developing driverless cars? Probably not, if we remember 2 quotes from some famous innovators, and one from conventional wisdom:

  • Steve Jobs -- BusinessWeek, May 25 1998: "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
  • Henry Ford: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have asked for a faster horse."
  • A banker advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co: "The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is a novelty - a fad"

Maybe drivers not wanting to be driven by automated cars do not accept to just watch the car driving, but I guess most of them, will quickly find much more interesting things to do than driving, such as reading, talking on the phone, watching news... I guess no one likes to drive in traffic jams.

To reflect back on the 3rd quote, actually, “horse did stay”, except that nowadays most of the time riding horse is a leisure.

Maybe in a few decades, driving a car will be a weekend pastime only allowed on some closed loop. No one will be allowed to drive on standard road because it will be deemed much too dangerous.

Maybe, there will be more people riding horse on weekends than people driving cars. It will be then the revenge of the horse...

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