Maybe living in a van down by the river isn’t so bad after all?
Analyst Horace Dediu writes regularly on disruptive technologies, and sees extremely far-reaching implications for self-driving vehicles. Suburbs may become desolate, aside from herds of self-driving Winnebagos endlessly looping around neighborhoods.
Why might we take up residence in a van, bus or Winnebago that plods alongside a river, or whatever road is open? Saving money. Such a living situations is sure to be cheaper than renting or owning a home.
“The idea that pure autonomy is about making my commute a little bit less painful, it just seems a very, very minor win for such a powerful technology,” Dediu said on a podcast posted Monday. “The future of autonomy is all roads permanently occupied with vehicles stuck in traffic which are essentially people’s homes.”
There’s nothing undesirable about settling down in a permanent traffic jam, in Dediu’s view.
“The new definition of luxury will be the house on wheels,” he explained. “You’re gonna have parties there. You’ll invite your friends over. The vehicle will just cruise randomly while it’s doing this.”
Welcome to permanent life on a party bus. The ultimate driving machine gets replaced by the ultimate sleeping machine, Dediu projected.
He expects this will become so popular that owners of huge parking lots such as Wal-Mart will add signs warning that no autonomous Winnebagos are allowed. With no place to park, the vehicles will simply drive around aimlessly. (Ideally they’ll be powered by rooftop solar panels.)
This scenario wouldn’t just mean good business for Winnebago, old buses could find new value. They’d be upgraded to include showers and living spaces.
For anyone who gets carsick, you’ll miss out on Dediu’s wonderland. Maybe that’s unfortunate, but you can probably get a great deal on an abandoned house in the suburbs.