Autonomous and Flying Vehicles

UberAir has announced that they plan to deploy their version of air transportation to Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020. Whenever I mention this to someone I usually get a response that is a mix of pessimism and disbelief. Both emotions are warranted since I think even our grandparents have been reading about promises of flying cars in their pop-sci magazines for the past few decades. However, this time the technology is already here. The drones you see today are essentially miniature versions of what you’ll be flying around in a couple years from now. The pessimism surrounding this technology needs to be considered as well. If you factor in the recent fatalities caused by autonomous vehicles, and the technology’s ability to be exploited, you can have a very lethal combination. Auto companies are continuing to blaze ahead in this industry despite the fatalities because this is a wave that will drastically disrupt almost every industry, and the first to ride it will be generously rewarded.

If you look into the future, every auto company will have to include some form of autonomous driving in their products. As the technology improves, it is predicted that we could see a crash rate reduction of up to 90%. Motor vehicles accidents are the second-leading cause of accidental death in the US (killing about 33,000 Americans each year). I’m sure most of us have found ourselves in near-miss situations caused by our cell phones or another distracted driver. Here’s another example of how these drones can save lives.  When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart needs to be shocked back into a normal rhythm. When a patient is shocked within one minute of collapse, the chance of survival is nearly 90%. But if it takes 10 minutes to administer a shock, the odds of survival fall below 5%. Imagine your watch detecting that you’re in cardiac arrest, it sends out a distress signal, a drone will then fly an EMT to you give you life-saving support. This is all possible today, as drone-production goes mainstream we will start to see these scenarios play out more often. Tesla’s self-driving technology has reportedly helped “save the life” of a man having a pulmonary embolism while he was already in traffic.

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