How many of you read this recent article on the Bangalore traffic scene on Times of india? You haven’t?! Dontcha worry, I got it covered for you. 😉 Here it is: Horror 2020: B’lore traffic in core areas at 5kmph. An excerpt of important points that are relevant to my blog post are here:
It found that vehicular speed had reduced to one fourth of what it was almost a decade ago: from 35 kmph in 2005 it is down to 9kmph now.
The traffic speed on this stretch is now below 10 kmph because traffic policemen posted outside the commissioner’s office stop freeflowing traffic to make way for their bosses
And, btw, this article conveniently ignored their best & only customers – Software Engineers! Who else buys Times of India in Bangalore? Only software engineer! Thanks to their Bangalore Times & most important articles of who-got-boob-job & when!! Anyways, the point I am trying to make is this article does not even mention Silk Board!!! If MG Road has a traffic speed of 7.8 kmph does anybody wanna do any math on what is the speed at Silk Board Junction?
If today the average traffic speed is around 20kmph (across Bangalore) and yet Silk Board is around 3kmph, does anybody wanna read what will happen when the average goes down to 5kmph?! Silk board junction will become the parking lot for IT company employees!! Or better, it might become ‘Mini-housing colony with steering wheels‘
And, enters ‘Self driving cars.’ For those who are oblivious to the efforts Google has taken in the last couple of years, here is a demo of their efforts.
Wanna know more about – driverless cars? Here are the latest news articles on them.
Now how will this benefit Bangalore?
[pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]We are in this traffic situation because everybody THINKS they are better driver than the other![/pullquote]
Today I spend around 3+ hrs on road to & fro office. To put into perspective, that is about 12.5% of 24hrs. Or, better, its 37.5% of time we spend at office (8hrs)!! Can you beat it, nearly 1/3rd of the time I spend working I spend driving to work. And, this is just gonna get worse! Imagine, if I could spend this drive time working instead! Wouldn’t that be great? So, there are 2 options to working ‘comfortably‘ while commuting to office: hire a driver or buy a self-driving car!
So I would rather give the controls to a ‘neutralizing’ robot who accepts all the other robots are equal than to an uneducated ego-maniac! More over, a driverless car can do everything (almost!) that a driver can do and a bit more. At least, it will not sleep at the wheel or switch on the a/c & waste fuel while parked! 😉
Benefits of self-driving car
- Work while we go to office: Remember, self-driving will be connected online all the time. How else will it know the routes? It needs a road-map doesn’t it? So, I can always work & be online while commuting to office! Imagine reading this blog while driving to work instead of at work! 😀 The benefits of working instead of concentrating on road is tremendous.
- Less stress: Man one of the biggest problem I get into is the stress while commuting to office. There are days when I stop the car in the side and switch on some soulful music to survive the insane traffic. But most of the days, I just abuse the other driver on the road. Imagine if I don’t have to worry about it ever! Imagine you pick up your first date in a driverless car!! Man the imagination is running wild! 😀 😀 😀
- Blind people can travel too: India is definitely no place for Blind people. Not a single infrastructure is supporting or enabling blind people! And, the auto-guys or even the taxi guys are gonna take these people for a ride, literally! How will a blind person know if the route the auto guy is taking is optimal or not?! Do I need to even explain how blind people can benefit from a self-driving car? 🙂 It will be a blessing in disguise of a car.
- Pick n Drop anytime: You have to go to office at 10 but your daughter needs to go to school by 7? Hold on, don’t worry! Driverless car can drop your daughter to school & return in time to drop you to office! 🙂
- No parking problem: Obvious, isn’t it?! 🙂 Just send it to the nearest charging station!
- No autos: This, in my opinion, is the biggest plus! Today, if my parents wanna go to shop (or visit a relative) after I have left for work they end up taking an auto to the bus stop and then the bus to the destination! But not anymore, if I own a driverless car! After I reach office, I will push a button in my car & it will drive back home pick up my parents drop them wherever and return later in the evening to pick me up.
- Drop to stations/bus-stands/airports: This is another beauty of this. Got an early morning flight? Why do you need an external taxi? God knows if he will reach in time or not! Invoke your car through your phone and voila after it drops you it will return to your home in time to drop your daughter to school! 🙂
Possible efforts by BMTC/BTP
How can government benefit from driverless cars? Imagine if Karnataka government utilizes the resources at their end better?! What our government can do with such advancements in technologies:
- Metro feeder: Imagine a metro feeder right at your doorstep? Push a button in your app, a government owned driverless car will pull up in front of your house to take you anywhere. For example to Metro station or the nearest bus-stop. Imagine the corollary, from the nearest bus-stop to your home. This way you reduce the congestion (of autos or taxis) near any of these highly populated places. Also will reduce the day-light robbery by the auto-wallahs.
- Airport feeder: This is a tad different from the other feeders. Imagine if you knew exactly when the airport pickup bus will reach the bus-stop closest to your home! Imagine if you had a 5am flight then you will be waiting at the bus-stop around 2am not knowing exactly when the bus is reaching your bus-stop. Also the bus might _not_ stop because you aren’t there at the right time! Now enters the feeder driver-less car. This feeder car knows exactly when the bus will reach, thanks to GPS. So, 10mins before the bus reaches the bus-stop it can come & pick you up. In fact, if required it might even give you an alarm wake up call to remind you the car is reaching in 15 mins!! Imagine if we know with precision on when the bus will reach our bus-stop!!
- Aadhar integrated: You don’t make any payment anywhere. It automatically gets detected from your Aadhar linked bank account. So no possibility of scams.
- Last mile connectivity: During IPL or during a concert, throw in additional feeder services. And most importantly, give the last mile connectivity. I would be shit-scared to walk the last 500 mts after an IPL match! Imagine walking around 1:30 am in lonely residential areas! So if the feeder car can drop me from the bus-stop to my home!
- Real-time information to BTP: So much can be achieved with this infrastructure:
- How will the situation be if the driver-less cars can communicate with BTP on possible congestion routes in real-time?!
- What if these cars can also act as vigilante while they are powered down? Like Batman! 😀
- What if these cars can take a snapshot of a traffic violation & send the information to the cop-car at the next traffic signal?!
All these can happen only if the government is ready to accept the feed from these feeders!
With Autos out of the roads & possibly even airport taxis, wouldn’t the road be a much better place to actually drive along?! You see the irony in that?! 😀
All said there are some problems still with this technology and I hope we don’t get into a mess like this parody suggests 😀