The Rise of Self-Driving Cars

World's first fully self-driving ride on public roads: Steve Mahan and Nathaniel Fairfield (Principal Engineer). Courtesy: Waymo.com

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About This Episode

Neil deGrasse Tyson finally gets to investigate a topic he’s long wanted to cover on StarTalk Radio: self-driving cars. Neil and comic co-host Chuck Nice are joined on their journey by Larry Burns, Mobility Consultant for Google Inc. and former VP of R&D at GM, and transportation journalist Alex Davies. Ride along as they discuss the fast-rising world of self-driving cars and the future of transportation. You’ll hear about a new “car DNA” that will change our basic understanding of automobile functionality. Explore why autonomous transportation will reshape the basic way we move around and the economic implications involved in a complete industry overhaul. Discover more about the history of auto-making, and why traveling by horse was made obsolete within two decades. Our crew discusses the legal ramifications for accidents involving driverless cars, the accident involving the Tesla autopilot system, and why they believe self-driving car manufacturers will use past mistakes to make for a better, safer future. You’ll learn the reasons behind traffic congestion, why lane changing in traffic is ineffective, and what happens to traffic in a world of autonomous vehicles. Apart from autonomous cars, you’ll find out about autonomous delivery systems like drones and robots, and you’ll also find out why Neil has an irrational dislike towards drones. All that, plus, Neil ponders why flying cars have yet to come to fruition and Alex explains Uber’s plans to finally make them a reality.

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