By on April 11, 2018

Bob Lutz 2008 Pontiac G8 In Chicago

Longtime auto executive Bob Lutz has always been an incredibly outspoken individual. His years of hard work have given him an insight into the industry that few possess, and he’s only become more willing to share that information as he ages. Like the industrious caterpillar, his ceaseless labor has allowed him to metamorphose into what is arguably his perfect form near the end of his lifecycle — a candid automotive butterfly.

We love hearing anything has to say, as his insight borders on the surreal, but with more than enough truth to come to pass. Last year, he divined a future where the car as we know it is destroyed by governmental regulation and advanced technologies. The dystopian plot seemed impossible upon a cursory glance, but the deeper you drive, the more plausible it begins to seem.

Lutz refocused this week at the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience in Detroit, saying the traditional dealer model will be among the first things to go in the brave new world of mobility. He called car dealerships an “endangered species,” suggesting to the crowd that it had “another 20 to 25 years before it’s all over.” 

“We’re in a historic transitional phase in the automobile business,” he said. “In order for the automobile to preserve its surface function, it’s simply going to have to evolve. We all know this end state is coming. It has to come.”

According to Automotive News, Lutz believes engineering and design will still be important in the short term. But ultimately, automakers will be required to ready themselves for future in which they either turn into fleet providers or go out of business. Once again, Lutz predicted a world where vanilla self-driving vehicles replace traditional cars — moving through traffic swiftly without any risk of collision.

“Are they going to be fun? Absolutely not,”Lutz said. “There will be no joy in sitting in an autonomous vehicle … But it’s going to be enormously efficient.”

He expects ownership to decline to a negligible level. Instead, individuals will have access to ride-hailing services that pick them up and drop them off wherever they please. “When you send [children] off to college, you won’t send them with a car, you’ll send them with a subscription to a driverless vehicle service that they can use at their leisure,” he mused.

GM Cruise self-driving Testing

We’ve poked holes in this argument before. While it’s certainly possible, the timeline Lutz presents seems extremely short. Autonomous development may be advancing rapidly, but recent events show there are plenty of hurdles yet to cross. Tesla’s Autopilot continues to garner controversy and Uber’s fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona proved how catastrophic a technical mishap can be.

There’s also that matter of efficiency. Urbanites would likely be well served by phone-based fleet access, but the situation becomes much trickier as things become rural. In addition to having to wait much longer for vehicles to arrive, having empty vehicles mill about in underpopulated areas wouldn’t be great for the environment. Autonomous cars will still expend energy and fleets will rack up miles much more quickly than personal vehicles that spend the majority of their time waiting patiently in a garage. We’re not sure how economical it is to digitally hail a self-driving car that has to make an extended journey every time it needs to pick someone up outside the city limits.

However, we like that Lutz is one of the few people with industry ties who’s openly considering the long game. For the most part, the government remains singularly fixated on the lives autonomous technology could save, while automakers focus on boasting about their technological achievements and the possibility of new revenue streams — like data acquisition and in-car marketing.

We don’t know if the future will play out exactly as Lutz has described. Still, there’s reason to give it serious consideration. While ownership rates went up slightly in 2017, leasing has been on the rise for years and many automakers have started implementing entirely new subscription services. Autonomous vehicles have also become a priority for most automakers, but even those that aren’t working feverishly on a self-driving car are still attempting to normalize semi-autonomous hardware that does at least some of the work for you.

Meanwhile, tech companies like Waymo and ride-hailing services like Uber are desperate to advance the technology for their own purposes. And all of this is being done without much in the way of regulatory oversight. The government appears to want the technology implemented just as badly as automakers and tech firms. If it continues with its hands-off approach, the market is likely to become flooded with autonomous cars while maintaining room for traditional vehicles.

But, if the government finds this new mobility to be legally incompatible with clumsy, self-driven cars and starts legislating their demise, we’ll know Lutz was right all along.

[Image: General Motors, via pontiacunderground/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)]

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40 Comments on “Old Man Lutz Gives Dealerships 20 Years to Live, Doubles Down on Driving Dystopia...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Thank God for boats.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’m going to start picturing Lutz as Carl Fredricksen (UP).

    Come out on the porch, yell at the construction workers, turn off his hearing aide, and go back inside.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Meh, Lutz is cool, he earned the right to be the cranky old man.

      I would rather listen to him rant than another Barra speech.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah but that’s pretty much all we hear from him anymore.

        We need a web series of him doing J turns and rolling over cars. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          Heck his life story alone would be an interesting podcast mini series. How many auto executives today is an immigrant who went to Berkeley for a BA and an MBA while working as a vaccum cleaner salesman supporting his kids as as single dad, the whole time he flew a decade as a pilot with the Marines, all that before he started working in auto?

          I feel like a loser just thinking about how little I have done compared to this guy.

    • 0 avatar
      VJW

      Personal ownership will never go away. i don’t want sloppy seconds after a nights partying! Uber drivers own their cars and take care of them unlike existing fleets of taxis. In the future all inner city cabs will be driverless. The real driver for autonomous technologies will be the insurance companies. The privilege of manual driving will become too expensive for the majority of drivers. One major advantage my son pointed out is the cars will no longer have to be built like tanks in a demolition derby because collisions will be a thing of the past with driverless cars and they will weigh half as much.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        The prospect that city cabs being driverless is not….ideal. Seems like a great way for criminals to stop vehicles carrying passengers to rob/abduct/worse unless urban autonomous cars are programmed to run down pedestrians who stop in front and behind the car. A flimsier car is going to make that even sketchier.

      • 0 avatar
        Yuppie

        @VJW Perhaps I am missing something? If insurance companies push for autonomous vehicles, which get better and better over time, what would be left for them to insure? So what is their incentive? You don’t think they actually want to promote safe driving, right?

  • avatar
    HuskyHawk

    Stark vision of an ugly future. Agree the timeline is much too short. It has major problems away from the cities. Cities are already seeing significant increases in congestion however, from ride hailing, as it proves more time efficient than public transit in many cases.

    I could see a situation where large cities essentially shut down access to private vehicles. People could drive to the perimeter of that more densely urban area and park, and jump on public transit or autonomous cars from there. Likewise, city dwellers could reverse that, and get in a car to head further out.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Large cities will not be the benefactors of “mobility”. Well, not large cities that are walkable and have good public transportation, like NYC. The big benefactor will be the suburbs, where these vehicles can act as public transportation unbounded by fixed routes.

      I think a lot of people are trying to frame America as either dense urban areas or sparse farmland. In reality the bulk of it is suburban, which is exactly where these kinds of vehicles make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      It might not be much of a problem in rural areas if there aren’t any people there. These days, over-the-road truckers’ salary is what drives the rural economy. If all of those trucks are automated like cars- along with equipment used for farming, mining, and oil extraction- there will be no way to make a living in rural areas. Most of those folks will be forced to move into more populated areas. And wouldn’t the resource extractors love it if there was no one around to complain about resource extraction!
      Dystopia indeed!

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        I think maybe the opposite. If people can work during their commute then long commute times won’t much matter. People will be able to live an hour or more away from “work” since they won’t have to drive the car and can instead work on laptops and cellphones or whatever. Exurban growth should accelerate even more than it has recently:

        Exurbanites Outnumber City Center Residents
        http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=13986

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          True, but exurbs surround urban areas. How far out would a white bubble-car from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” take you? All the way into deep parts of, say, Kansas or South Dakota? Or way up into the Appalachians?
          There’s still a lot of territory out there that’s more than 2 hours from even a tier 7 city. It could be we are headed for a world not unlike so many sci-fi yarns, with clean, automated, sophisticated cities surrounded by thousands of square miles of territory frequented by the likes of Wez and The Humongous.
          I’ll say it again, automated driving is all about the trucks, that’s where the real money is.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Uber (or its spiritual successor) will be the default way to get around if you’re in most metro areas for lots of people.

    I’d bet that car ownership among the bottom 1/3, 16-23 and older seniors becomes much less common. Thanks to stagnant income, rising insurance, rising plate fees versus affordable pay-as-you-go Uber

    Will we see another stretch of 18+ million annual sales (adjusted for population) in the US in our lifetimes?

    What happens to your local buy-here pay-here lot, Carmax, auto parts makers, UAW? Probably not good?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I disagree on 2 points- one, 20-25 years is ridiculous for reasons that have been presented and discussed ad nauseum.

    Two, autonomous cars may not work better in truly rural areas, but they will definitely thrive in areas of suburban sprawl. An autonomous car will expend no more energy in use than a parked manual car (i.e. zero), and autonomous cars can essentially function like public transportation, with the added benefits of the option of not having to deal with the public on said transportation, and not being fixed on any route. I’d argue that’s where autonomous cars will really take off; most people in urban areas like NYC don’t have cars in the first place, and congestion and the like make them awful to use even if one can afford them.

    And as I said before, the whole process of ownership- the purchase, the maintenance, the storage, the traffic, the resale and subsequent purchase- generally don’t have positive associations with the public at large. The prospect of having the same access to transportation without having to actually own a car would appeal to many.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Jitney cabs aside, none of this needs to exist. I can’t decide if it truly venture capitalists trying to turn a buck, a result of continued economic staganation, something Agenda 21ish, or some combination of the three.

    So Bob, in your Blade Runner-esque transportation vision:

    1. I own nothing but pay monthly transportation rents.
    2. I have to share a daily space with unwashed proles full of disease and germs
    3. My costs seem to go down, yet because of price discovery, I anticipate the price going up significantly as population increases.

    So it sounds like in real dollars, my cost outlay could remain similar but I lose ownership of something which gives me freedom, flexibility, and some privacy to essentially ride a bus where the single seat I occupy may have been sat in five times prior to my arrival. F**k you, Bob.

    Only a technocratic dictatorship with absolute power and omniscience could pull this off. Oh wait…

    Expatriate long enough to get a new citizenship and come back if you like. Thank me later.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “I have to share a daily space with unwashed proles full of disease and germs”

      It’s ironic that this recurring sentiment is expressed in the context of describing “an ugly future”. Especially since when people are locked inside their cars, anonymous (and, yet, empowered), they tend to exhibit their worst behavior.

      Yes, public transportation can, sometimes, really suck. But it is, often, a source of connection to other people who are interesting and, at times, can be inspiring. Asking of yourself the effort to interact decently and face-to-face with people that you don’t know is not something to be avoided at all costs.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @bunkie

        I got the flu terribly about Nov 2016 and until that point from August, I road a bus daily. This stopped in December and I have not been on one, or had a serious ailment, since.

        You raise another interesting point about isolation/freedom leading to poor behavior. Although one would have to define ‘worst behavior’ and then explain what they are looking to accomplish by packing people like sardines in a bus as remedy.

        “But it is, often, a source of connection to other people who are interesting and, at times, can be inspiring.”

        I personally have not experienced this but won’t discount it. Reminds me of an HBO piece years ago, Subway Stories.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subway_Stories

        “Asking of yourself the effort to interact decently and face-to-face with people that you don’t know is not something to be avoided at all costs.”

        I have often said, the problem with public transportation is the public is on it. Not my cup of tea.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You presented these points in a strange way.

      1. Cars are worth nothing at some point in the future, and are generally worth less over time anyway.
      2. You will be able to get a private ride if you want to. There will definitely be enough demand for it.
      3. Birth rates in Western countries are generally below 2; populations will likely decline over time wherever you are.

      Perhaps car ownership is freedom to you, but to many it’s a shackle to debt, traffic, and parking. I’m sure many people feel as you do, also without merit. More importantly, Lutz’ timeline is nutz, so fretting over such an unlikely outcome is pointless. But if you are going to fret at least do so within the bounds of evidence and logic….

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        1. That’s not what I said. I said “I own nothing but pay monthly transportation rents” not cars are worth nothing. All used/remarketed automotive units reach an equilibrium in their depreciation, they are never “worth nothing” even in death because of scrap value.

        I own nothing refers to the fact I do not own my means of transportation at all but yet I must pay a rent, which is what a subscription is, or I do not have any mobility. I do not own, thus I have no say in or no control over my vehicle of mobility. One could argue I do pay transportation costs in the form of fuel, maintenance, insurance, registrations, but ultimately my mode of transit at current is mine to do as I please. Giving this up for a constant rent stream is generally not in my favor.

        2. Given road design and conditions, destination, regional population, time, cost, driver inventory, and ride demand, there will only be a finite number of transportation options. Depending on these variables, one may not be able to get private transportation at all, or if so, at a price higher than what I am willing/able to spend OR higher than the cost of ownership in #1 due to price discovery of the previously stated variables.

        3. If you haven’t noticed, people above our heads are flooding the Western countries with non-native population. This topic is huge and is a debate in its own right, but regarding this discussion populations where you and I live will probably not go down ever. Part of this I believe is due to the ponzi nature of United States entitlements and of US real estate (of which the Fed owns billions MBS based on this real estate). A declining population fails to feed the Ponzi scheme of entitlements and real estate, therefore it will not be allowed to happen (the declining Petrodollar plays a role, as well as the current stability of China, its a complex topic).

        “I’m sure many people feel as you do, also without merit”

        Cute. My thoughts are quite valid. Your shackles of traffic do not go away with JohnnyCab. Debt is a choice, I have no sympathy. Parking, you have a valid point but many insolvent munis rely on parking taxes for revenue to issue bonds against. Taking that food from their mouths will result in them inventing new ways of fundraising which may be better or worse.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          1. Not sure how a subscription model = no control over your vehicle of mobility. I’m sure there will be many choices and tiers in the mobility model, just as there are in the private car ownership model. Not sure how hailing an autonomous ride, which you will definitely be able to hail w/no other passengers, most likely in a vehicle of your choosing, will not enable you to do as you please either.

          2. Not sure how such a shortage could happen. For one there will definitely be less cars on the road through ride sharing, and less congestion due to less accidents and rubbernecking. Similarly with their by the second demand data I’m sure these companies will work to meet any growth (or collapse) in demand swiftly, with competitive rates thanks to an open and transparent market with a lot of competitors. Car companies are not just going to shutter their doors when autonomy becomes commercially viable.

          3. Not sure you noticed but there is growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Western nations that is affecting policy and politics in general. There is a growing backlash and boldness against pretty much everything leftish, including open immigration policies. So here in the US I don’t growth long term, especially if fear really takes root in our immigration policy.

          Crappy munis will be crappy munis regardless of whether or not cars are human or computer driven. Don’t really see what that has to do with anything.

          Bottom line, the FUD over autonomous cars and the dystopian apocalypse they will usher in is growing tiring. You have nothing to worry about. We will both be long dead before any of this is even logistically viable.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          1. I quote myself: “I do not own, thus I have no say in or no control over my vehicle of mobility.”. If my vehicle of mobility is a subscription, I have the control of its use but I have no control over it as an owner would. I cannot tint the windows, I cannot ding thee door and not care, I cannot put a custom paint job on it if I choose. I do not own it, it must be returned in whatever condition is specified in the contract. This is my “no control”, perhaps “limited control” would have been clearer. If my vehicle of mobility is a rideshare or unlicensed taxi, the only control I have over it is the destination be it human driven or robot driven.

          2. I argued at any given time only X vehicles can exist in a place given those variables. I foresee ride-sharing becoming the norm but as population increases there simply will be a larger volume of vehicles in many locations which fall into these variables (unless AV becomes more of a small bus model which may negate the overall increase in inventory). Assuming the bus model is not in the cards, supply and demand of that inventory will dictate transportation pricing. If I am subscribing, my transportation fees will be fairly predictable. If I am in a rideshare, fees will vary and I may be priced out due to lack of inventory, or it could be cheaper than a subscription or ownership per mile etc. In the rideshare scenario, I now have to share daily space with random humanity, which I consider a detriment.

          “Car companies are not just going to shutter their doors when autonomy becomes commercially viable.”

          You nor I have any idea what the future holds. There many be marques or mfgs which quickly do shut down if their sales dry up.

          3. I have noticed, but I also know agendas seldom change. Given the Ponzi nature of entitlements and real estate as I described, more bodies will be necessary to continue the game else prices/revenue collapse. I hope you are correct in that the country gains hold of its senses, but I personally will not hold my breath. There are trillions of dollars in the West Coast real estate bubble alone which all depend on demand to live/work there. I can only imagine the effects of deflating this.

          True, my point was although yes parking would be less in demand the revenue generated would be made up for somehow. This was not to suggest you were incorrect about parking demand, it was merely an additional point on cost.

          “We will both be long dead before any of this is even logistically viable.”

          I am inclined to agree we will be dead or too aged out to be significantly impacted. Cheers.

          • 0 avatar
            Roader

            “…as population increases there simply will be a larger volume of vehicles in many locations which fall into these variables (unless AV becomes more of a small bus model which may negate the overall increase in inventory…”

            Virtual buses, maybe. Computers are likely to be much better drivers than humans: 70mph on in-town interstates/limited access highways with one car length between vehicles instead of three? It’s probable. So then the carrying capacity of the road would double or triple, even with zero ride sharing.

            Much less waiting at intersections too:

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Roader

            Great point.

  • avatar

    Sorry, the Dealer will still be there. We may wish it would go away but it won’t. Even if the car drives itself, as long as there are private cars, there will unfortunately be a dealer. I’m afraid to get into a car that no one cleans or maintains….a bus or subway is one thing, it is a public space, and people are “in public” but can you imagine the interior of a “public” car with no driver ? Check out reddits’ r/carbage to get an idea….and that car would be picking you up to go to work.

    The self driving car is like the flying car. It’s only 5 years away, and has been for over 30 years.

    Anyone who lives outside a metropolis will still need a car, and that car will be human driven. Even in NYC, they can barely fix the existing 1930’s roads, and I don’t see any pot of money to clean them up to a point a self driving car would have a shot at survival and getting to the destination.

    I’ve seen things go from black and white TV to the internet, but I don’t see the many needed factors coming together for more than an occasional self driving 18 wheeler crossing Montana…..

  • avatar
    Tiberius1701

    I think Mr. Lutz needs some time in the Orgasmatron™. Maybe that will brighten up his vision of the future. Also thumbs-up to 28 Cars Later. Excellent post!!

  • avatar

    this from vice chair who drove us into Bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      Dilrod

      Good point. Why didn’t he see that coming?

      If we still have a free market when the technology enables this dystopian world of his to exist, where we ride around in pay-by-the-hour eggs like Mork from Ork, the inference seems to be that real cars will disappear, even if there are buyers & sellers for such things. I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Yes, but how many years to dealerships give Bob Lutz…

    I kid I kid.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    He’s wrong on the time frame but I believe that he’s right about the direction. Between the increased economic efficiency and (still to be realized) safety of AVs, the pressure to give up individual car ownership in metro areas will be too great to support car culture like we’ve known it. Individual ownership of non-AVs will become a hobby for the upper classes, like owning a horse became after the rise of autos. Outside of those metro areas non-AVs will still be the norm (the horse/auto model prevails here too), but the sales volume will be smaller and that it will force a drastic revision to how manufacturers and dealerships meet that demand. It might move to the Tesla model of direct sales and service. Eventually it will even become impossible to operate a non-AV in metro areas, with rural folk only being able to drive their own car to the outskirts where they would have to switch to an AV in order to continue into the controlled metro area, just like if one tried to come into town on a horse today.

    However, this isn’t going to happen in less than 40 years, and probably closer to 50.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Damnit. I was looking forward to firing up whatever manual transmission V8 I still happen to own in the future, heading into the city, and blasting through fleets of clone/drone pods full of carbon-based blobs while setting off all of their warning and avoidance systems. Mebbe I’ll just stay in the country, as I’ll be dead before that all happens.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    In 1993, if you’d said that newspapers, landline TVs, cable, physical retail, and Blockbuster would all be on the ropes in 25 years, people would have thought you were crazy.

    Cars are very expensive and are parked most of the time and a lot of people are shitty drivers. Outside of rural areas, ride sharing a car at even a dollar a mile will be a no brainer just on cost + the convenience of not having to fight about parking. As far as fun, being able to watch a movie or read a book or work instead of dealing with rush hour traffic will be a net gain for most people.

  • avatar
    markf

    These future “predictions” always make me chuckle. Mainly because they are always, 100% wrong. Global Warming, overpopulation, “peak” oil, flying cars, Mars colonies, doesn’t matter. They are always wrong and they always given in 15-25 year blocks, just long enough that they can almost guarantee no one will hold them accountable (or in Lutz’a case he won’t be around)

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I don’t understand your point. How is what you referred to as wrong?
      Global warming is real, and happening right now. Overpopulation is very real, and probably the worst thing happening to the planet. Oil is limited to the reserves on the planet. And colonizing Mars is already in the works…
      Flying cars might be a stretch.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        I am not gonna debate the existence of man-made warming, but every prediction made regarding it has been wildly, hilariously wrong. Including my favorite “the end of snow”

        http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/04/25-years-of-predicting-the-global-warming-tipping-point

        Overpopulation? You mean like Paul Ehrlich predicted? Mass starvation and world riots in the 70s? Yeah, overpopulation. Speaking of the 70’s, remember when it was the next Ice Age all the peal clutches were worried about? June 1974 cover of time magazine “The coming Ice Age”

        Always wrong, never in doubt

  • avatar
    Roader

    I’ve noticed that mainstream media articles on autonomous vehicles tend to conflate 1) AVs and battery-electric powertrains and 2) AVs and mandatory ride sharing. One article even went so far as to say that EV powertrains were necessary because of the huge “electrical requirements” of AVs, as if LiDAR units and various automation devices consume more than tens of watts. AVs probably won’t be even 10% more expensive than non-AVs so if someone wants to own a car, s/he’ll still own a car. Yeah, an increasing number of people will choose to subscribe to a car service but even then those car services will be picky. My guess is that you’ll be rated as a rider via social media so riders who pass gas in the car will quickly have their subscriptions canceled. Same for people who leave a mess.

    Eventually shared cars will be built with separate rider compartments with adjustable glass opacity and individual HVAC and audiovisual controls, negating the need to interact with your fellow riders at all. Sorta’ like the enclosed first-class compartments on long haul flights.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    The residents of Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Western Kansas, Wyoming, Non-Front Range Colorado, Southern Utah, Southern New Mexico and huge parts of Texas (and many other rural parts of this great country) are pretty much 100% in agreement that in 25 years they will……own a car and or a truck that they will have purchased at some car dealership that is still in business.

    Maximum Bob is in his 80’s. Enjoy retirement Bob, and as others have said. If you were so clairvoyant why didn’t you do something to keep GM out of the BK court?

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I really don’t understand the binary outcome propositions that come out in these types of prognostications.

    As many have mentioned, a more realistic expectation is that autonomous solutions blossom in suburbia/exurbia which taper off as population density reaches a certain +/- density.

    That doesn’t have to mean the death of the automobile or the dealership, although it does suggest that dealerships devolve to smaller-size mom-n-pop outfits much like bookstores in the Amazon age.

    There will always be places that Uber won’t go. Today they’re certain redlined urban areas. In the future it’ll be dirt roads in the mountains. Largely I think the people who live in those areas will be fine with that.

    This suggests to me that the drive-it-yourself vehicle may be more SUV- or Jeep-like as the use case for the traditional sedan shrinks even further with market contraction.

    In suburbia I can imagine a reinvention of the city bus system. Instead of several buses running long routes to pick up a few riders here and there, I can see it becoming more hub-and-spoke in partnership with an autonomous vehicle in some areas: A pod picks you up and takes you a mile or two to a station where you get on a shuttle bus that runs every 10 minutes takes you directly to the business or shopping district.

    Or perhaps some innovation like the Auto Train, particularly things go the “pod” route. An automated pod picks you up and takes you to a station, where the pod attaches to other pods going to the same destination, using the highway but with an infrastructure that could leverage light rail lines as well depending on availability.

    In both cases you still have roads and you still have cars. If this can be done in a way to reduce overall congestion, the consummate reduction in risk should hold the line on the cost of car insurance for those that still want to drive.

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