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What do you think is Tesla's answer for Mass Transit?

Discussion in 'Rumour Mill' started by TE3LA, Apr 24, 2016.

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  1. TE3LA

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    Musk recently stated: “There’s a new type of car or vehicle that would be great for that and that’ll actually take people to their final destination and not just the bus stop.” "We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus but would solve the density problem for inner city situations," he said. "Autonomous vehicles are key... I don't want to talk too much about it. I have to be careful what I say."


    Look at the gleam in his eye. I think he is talking about a fully autonomous Model 3.

    What do you think?

    Read more at http://www.teslarati.com/elon-hints-self-driving-bus-solve-city traffic/#HPSm3mzChDa0JoAU.99
     
  2. TE3LA

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    I accidentally pressed return and posted this before its was ready and cannot figure out how to edit the title. The title of the post was going to read, "What do you think is Tesla's answer for Mass Transit?"
     
  3. Andreas Stephens

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    #3 Andreas Stephens, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
    Yes, I believe anyone thinking just a little ahead will come to realise that autonomous driving is the logical outworking of our automotive technological development. In that sense I feel that the Model 3 will be my second and perhaps last car I will drive/own. I would love to hear at some time between now and when I take delivery of my Model 3 that Tesla is now able to turn on full autonomous mode, but I am not betting on it.

    I also believe that due to economies of scale in the end it will be only a few owners of autonomous car fleets that will "own" the market.

    To me it would be inconceivable to think that Tesla is not aiming to be one of the main fleet owners. With their Supercharger infrastructure they will be way ahead of any competitor in terms of trip flexibility on offer and with their head start on autonomous driving technology, they are ideally placed to come up with compelling mass transit traffic solutions.

    As to whether or not it will be cars or some sort of "mini-buses", I suspect it will be a gradual evolution to slightly larger vehicles (also keeping in mind that this planet has finite resources). If we are talking about large scale mass transit and in oder to reduce traffic congestion in major cities, cars can not be the ultimate solution. On the other hand, to ensure convenience, really large buses, as we see them in our cities today might also not be ideal.

    So, according to my crystal ball, Tesla will turn on full autonomous capability over the next 3-7 years. The Tesla 3 will be of critical importance in terms of demonstrating the benefits of autonomous driving capability. Then the race will be on for fleet owners to roll out the biggest autonomous car fleets in oder to gain economies of scale.

    Tesla could come up with innovative solutions - such as offering Tesla 3 owners to make their unused cars available to the Tesla Motors Autonomous Car Fleet (TMACF) for a fee. Basically optimising utilisation of each autonomous car and reducing the cost of ownership for Model 3 owners.

    TMACF could also offer existing Model 3 owners a more attractive buy-back price to quickly build up its car fleet.

    Over the next couple of decades resource constraints will lead to ever more efficient autonomous mass transit solutions.
    I suspect all of this could happen relatively quickly.
     
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    • TrevP

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      I fixed it for you. You can edit your own thread titles if you're the author. Just select "edit thread" under the thread tools menu. You can change titles there.
       
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      • Thalass

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        The size of the vehicle will depend on the usual density of the area it operates in. In cities a 19 seat style bus would probably work well. As people request rides a vehicle that's going in that direction will divert to pick them up and add their destination to its route planning. At quieter times, or in quieter towns, a regular sized car would probably work better - cheaper to buy and all that.
         
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        • Andreas Stephens

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          Yes, it will be fascinating to see how this will play out (if we live that long). However, I think autonomous buses can not be too big, as the inconvenience factor for the people already on the bus as it diverts from its route to collect additional passengers might limit its size.

          Maybe there will be smaller vehicles that collect passengers and take them to the routes of really LARGE buses? What speaks against that is that I think historically any form of change in transport modes has been incredibly costly and inefficient.

          A lot will depend on just how smart the routing technology will be... the possibilities are all really exciting!
           
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          • MelindaV

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            I think the initial setup may be more defined, closed routes, much like light rail or dedicated bus only streets are now, more than thinking of mass transit operating like an on-demand cab does now.

            The other thing to consider with unmanned transit is who will be riding and if removing an immediate and visible authority how some may behave. Maybe (in all likelihood) where I live has a larger than average level of gang violence centered around our light rail system, but not being supervised does bring out the worst in some.
             
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            • Andreas Stephens

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              Yes, security will be an issue. Possible solutions - inward facing security cameras monitored by fleet operators. Passengers "rating" similar to Uber/eBay/Amazon. Police check prior to becoming a registered autonomous vehicle passenger. Panic buttons that give a choice of: immediately "summon" all autonomous vehicles in the vicinity, lock doors and stop vehicle, or stop vehicle and open doors. Behavioral change - travel times/groups/"buddy system".

              I am not saying that any of these will be a silver bullet solution to all security concerns. I just hope that it will be a risk that can be managed and maybe again smart technology can be employed to improve the security situation in ways that we can not even imagine today...
               
            • MelindaV

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              maybe I need to go back and watch RoboCop, Terminator, Back to the Future 2 to brush up on how this may work ;)
               
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              • Thalass

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                Don't forget Jonnycab! He doesn't take crap from passengers!

                All this talk of transit routes makes me want to play Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe again. Bus routes feeding train lines. Maybe someone can make a mod that uses cars picking passengers up from houses and takes them to hyperloop stations haha
                 
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                • Jeff O

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                  He could, of course, have been referring to the 'Hyperloop' idea.
                   
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                  • Thalass

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                    Hyperloop could partly solve the largely nonexistant range anxiety thing with EVs. The car drives itself (with you inside presumably) to the hyperloop station, you drive on, and then you and the car are whisked away to the next city. Possibly charging on the way from the on-board batteries in the carriage. Though that might be a bit of a stretch.

                    Or, more likely, your car drives you to the local hypeloop station and then when you get off at the other end you jump in another uber-like autonomous car to take you the last bit of your trip.
                     
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                    • Daliman

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                      As an example, about 16 million Canadians commute everyday. 75% of those commute as a single person driving a car powered by an IC engine. In the outer parts of the Greater Toronto Area the average time each way is over an hour. Many major cities share these issues and the toxic gas released has made Beijing almost impossible to live in. This is enormously costly in productivity, carbon emissions and quality of life. Building significant new public transit projects is very expensive and controversial as they usually involve disrupting roads to make room for the dedicated corridors that streetcars or LRT's need. The choice to take transit is always constrained by the inconvenience of not being picked up and dropped of at your door.

                      Autonomous EV's provide a real opportunity to provide flexible cheap transit on various scales and draw enough cars off the road that congestion and all of these other issues could be dramatically reduced. This could involve fleets of EV's being distributed to pick up people at their homes in the suburbs and drop them off at work downtown. Given the mapping technology available now this type of ride sharing should be easy to program so that the time spent diverting for pick ups and drop offs is minimal. Such an app could also identify persons in your neighborhood that you could pick up for a fee, really UBER can do this now. A system license this ensure that you have proper insurance etc could allow you to turn your daily commute into a money making environmentally sound proposition. If full autonomy is achieved then this time becomes potentially productive. All of this could be done with a fleet of model 3's. My rough calculation is about 80,000 vehicles used twelve hours a day could double the capacity of the Toronto Transit System for about 4 billion, a fraction of the cost of planned projects. This could accommodate several million riders a day.

                      In his talk in Norway Elon referred to something else, an idea for something, not a bus which would take people door to door. I assume this is not a system using model 3s or he would have simply said that. A system mixing vehicles between 5 and perhaps 20 seats for dedicated routes with whatever he is considering would cover a lot of ground.
                       
                    • Badback

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                      How about a modular system of 2 or 4 passenger electric pods that could link up on the fly with a longer distance traction unit, like a train but limited in length?
                      And, detach from the train near the destination and use it's own battery to get there. The train could also swap traction units as charging is needed.
                       
                    • xxZULAxx

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                      I would never own a vehicle with this scenario which is fine by me.
                       
                    • Stephen

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                      I wrote a blog in Tesla's Model S forum under the topic of "Tesla Taxi". This is what I wrote.

                      It is year 2030 and self-driving cars have just been legalized in North America. Elon Musk has just said that by the end of 2031 there will be fifty thousand Tesla Taxis roaming North America. If you go to Tesla's APP and select "taxi", a self driving Tesla will come to your location by reading your GPS location. You tell your Tesla Taxi your destination by voice command. Your credit card is debited and off you go to your destination.
                       
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                      • Andreas Stephens

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                        I like this... except Elon would be bitterly disappointed if it took until 2030 - I suspect he is aiming for 2020 +/- 3 years.

                        ... unless instead of "North America" you meant to write "Mars".
                         
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                        • Mr. Watts

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                          I think replacing mass transit trains and buses with ones that run on renewable energy will be key. Less costly than building an entirely new system of transportation.
                           
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                          • Michael Russo

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                            • MichelT3

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                              All true.
                              Yet ... the problem with mass transport isn't the connection itself, but the transfer you have to make at the start and end. Those are the real diminishes of your average end-to-end speed. Be it trains, current high speed trains, or airplanes. Because in most cases you don't live / work beside the terminal.

                              The hyperloop system is very attractive and may work in a situation of city agglomerations at some distance from each other (LA - SF / NY - W-DC / even NY - Miami). But in a more spread out city structure like we have in Europe - many more, but smaller cities, at closer distances - it will be more difficult. Will there be loops between all those cities, or do you need to switch stations and loose even more average end-to-end speed?

                              Still, we need to find a way to do away with heavily polluting aircraft. Most urgently for short distances (< 1,000 miles). So this system certainly deserves a chance.
                              For distances up to 500 miles the autonomous car will be faster end-to-end in most cases, I think.
                               
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