Realizing the (infinite) limit of self-driving cars

I’ve always greatly admired Elon Musk. To get to the point, I am very curious at the inner workings of his mind. My hypothesis is that his mind works differently from a lot of ours – or maybe it was his upbringing – but he does not seem daunted by the details. Sending humankind to Mars? No problem. Creating self-driving cars? Only a starting point for what he wants to tackle on next.

Honestly however, I was a little skeptical of Musk’s ideas at first. Like, sending man to Mars? No thanks, I like Earth just fine. Or self driving cars? The “trained architect” in me is shouting “NO! It’ll only lead to more sprawl. I want PUBLIC TRANSIT!” But, I’ve always been a luddite, and I’ve always only jumped into the bandwagon after everyone else has tested the waters. I previously held the belief that self-driving cars will only contribute to more urban sprawl, and as a consequence, worsening traffic.

But, as MIT’s Senseable Lab pointed out, self-driving vehicles hold huge implications for not only safety, but traffic as well. They suggest that self-driving cars can have the potential to optimize a slot-based system interaction, not unlike those used for air- traffic control. In this system, each vehicle is assigned a “slot” for when to enter intersections, thereby eliminating the need for stop and go traffic.

One look at the video below will show all that needs to be said:


(Also, notice how the video started with a question that questioned everything we currently knew? That’s a good way to become smarter.)