What Does the Future of Commuting Look Like?

Each year I work the Silicon Valley Comic Con. This year was my third year working and each year I work the panel rooms. I enjoy this for the fast pace and getting the chance to hear interesting topics. What I believe is unique about the Silicon Valley Comic Con is that it connects pop culture with technology.

One of my favorite panels I was able to briefly hear was about the future of commuting. This is just an important topic especially in Silicon Valley! Each year the traffic gets worse with no relief in sight. Silicon Valley was also just named the second worst place in the United States for traffic with LA being number one. It is bad now and I don’t want to know what it will grow into next year. This is a problem that I believe technology can help solve.

At the panel jet packs and driver less cars were discussed as commuting vehicles.

Jet Packs. Spoiler alert: jet packs are not ready for people to commute by. The main reasons being that right now they are not practical, they are expensive and are very loud! In a Guardian article one jet pack enthusiasts said that the lack of safety is another major barrier for jet packs being used for commuting.

Now, of course, the question is whether or not, if available, you would want to commute by jet pack. I’m going no on commuting with jet pack. All I can think of is all that fuel flying around in the air. To me, compared to a car, a jet pack is more vulnerable to a crash. Also, I can’t help but think about how my outfit will hold up after commuting.

Driver less cars. Something I am much more comfortable with is driver less cars! Living in Silicon Valley self driving cars are everywhere. Almost every day I see a self driving car from Google. To me, self driving cars are here. Around 4 years ago I was able to ride in a Google self driving car and learn more about the “behind the scenes” work of self driving cars.

In the panel discussion one of the speakers asked the audience if they trust self driving cars and if not why. There was a handful of people that didn’t trust self driving cars. Reasons given were they were waiting for the 3.0 version and fears of being hacked. Legitimate. The panelist shared that each day the self driving cars get better because we now have years of data collected to help improve the product.

So, what does the future of commuting look like? I do believe in the near, and long term, future it will be about self driving cars. As mentioned above, the product has already existed for years and has years of testing behind it. As with any technology, it will continue to improve.

And we already have the infrastructure to support self driving cars. Might as well use the roads that already exist a little longer.

And most importantly: taking humans away from the steering wheel will solve traffic! I do not need to list how bad humans are at driving. And they would be controlling the jet packs to commute! That just sounds like a nightmare to me. Driver less cars will have better depth perception, timing and confidence. And they will not get distracted by a phone or a minor fender bender that is on the side of the road.

So, I believe that the future of commuting is self driving cars. What does the future of commuting look like to you?

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