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Take it from a cab driver: your most memorable ride won't be driverless [Eugene Salomon]

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2098 Rider
 Posted 5 years, 12 months ago

Eugene Salomon, the author of Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver, wrote an opinion piece on Uber and Autonomous Vehicles. His point?  Driverless cabs will be missing an essential aspect of a transportation and that we shouldn't automatically assume they will be a great success.

Gene challenges the concept by claiming a human contact is more important than the product or service at hand.  He likens it to a bartender or hairstylist. 

"I feel that human contact is more important to people than high-tech billionaires think it is. In the taxi business, a driver is not just an appendage of the car. Like bartenders and hair stylists, he or she is someone with whom a joke or a story can be shared; someone who will listen to passengers’ troubles. For a tourist, the driver is an ambassador of the new country. Human contact counts in the taxi business."

He also makes a point about how Segways were to change the world, but the leve lof user adoption people expected was never reached.  So his thought is that we are assuming AV's success from technology and cost stand point, but he feels we are all missing something.  He challenges Uber"

"Have you really done your research? How can you be so sure that passengers would take to being in a car, alone, without a driver? Have you hired independent market researchers to get real answers, or are you just assuming?



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     5 years ago

    Autonomous Vehicles has something definitely going for it, which is major cost savings for the industry and of which will get passed on to the consumers.  It mentions Segway, but while that was a cool technology, it didn't replace anything else.  There was always the traditional walking and bicycling.  Uber and AVs are transportations that we all still need, and they make it much much cheaper and efficient.

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      53 Rider Driver
       5 years ago

      I doubt they will pass on the savings. They will sppreciate not hsving to share the money with a driver.

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      113 Rider
       5 years ago

      Right.  I like the bartender approach.  I think I prefer to get my drink from a human rather than a vending machine. 

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     5 years ago

    I always wondered myself why Segway didn't take off.  Seriously.  I thought it was supposed to change the urban travels completely.  People were talking about how there will be Segway lanes on the streets and people taking them to work.

    I guess they got the recent electric scooters though?  How come no one is using Segways for this?  Too expensive? too big?

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      120 Rider
       5 years ago

      They sorta do though.  Their technology of gyro is being used.  We have door-to-door salesman who come to our house on them.  Well, not often,  but I've seen them a few times.  Used in surbuban areas where house to house is pretty far.