Driving: First fleet of computer-driven taxis used by a multi-sub-park theme park to freely...

...transport park patrons between their multiple sub-parks.  [For example, these computer-driven cars transporting park patrons between Walt Disney World's six sub-parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon]  The park's fleet of computer-driven taxis must not require a park employee riding along as a safety measure and must number at least 100, with at least 50 in service at all times.  [As some people go to theme parks for unique experiences, the opportunity to be driven between sub-parks by a computer-driven car would definitely qualify as one of those.  And one of the best ways for the public to accept computer-driven cars in the future on their local roads and highways is to experience them in a safe environment where their use is optional and considered exciting.  Then when these tourists go back home, they will tell family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about their adventure in computer-driven cars at the theme park and that will help start the process of public acceptances of such vehicles.  It is for this reason that Google and auto manufacturers (Ford, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, etc.) will very likely provide free and sponsor such vehicles at theme parks around the world.]

To win this challenge (and Future Challenges #1 through #10), the program must include a learning algorithm, must transmit at least once per operational day what it has learned to the company that developed the program, and download updates from that central server.

Future Challenges:

1) First computer-driven taxi approved by a US state’s Department of Transportation to operate completely autonomously in one of the state's cities with a population of at least 50,000.  [On May 8, 2012, Nevada became the first state to issue a special permit to a computer-driven car to drive on its own roads and highways.  But legal permission is only one battle that autonomous cars must face.  Possibly an even harder battle is getting people to try and trust them.  Expect taxis to help with this, especially in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas is already a major tourist destination.  A place for fun and adventure.  That adventure will likely soon start right at the Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport when tourists are given the option to take a computer-driven taxi into the city and then when they're back home, they'll tell their family and friends of their experience with it.  Also, expect Las Vegas hotels to have their own computer-driven taxis outside their lobbies for their guests to use.  These hotel autonomous taxis will return to the hotel after each use.  This taste-sampling of computer-driven cars will be a good way to get the public to accept and trust them.  It will also add to the risk-taking image of Sin City.]

2) First taxi company to add a computer-driven taxi to its fleet and put the taxi into regular service.

3) First taxi company (with 25 cars or more) to have all of its taxis be computer-driven.

4) First computer-driven, human-passenger car approved by all Departments of Transportation of all 50 US states to drive on all of their roads and highways.

5) First auto-maker to offer for sale a computer-driven, human-passenger car approved by all Departments of Transportation of all 50 US states to drive on all of their roads and highways.  [Expect this advancement to result in two-car families becoming one-car families since they will only need one car to take care of all their local transportation needs.  For example, the husband’s job starts early so he gets driven to work and then the car drives itself home to drive the wife and kids to school so she can drop them off there and then drives the wife to work.  The car then drives itself back to the pre-teen daughter’s school to wait for school to get out and to then takes her to music lessons.  For this reason, expect custom paint jobs for the family car to be part and parcel of being a parent in the future so your child knows which computer-driven car is her family's car in a sea of computer-driven cars waiting to pick up kids after school.  When she enters the car, it sends a video phone call to the mother who is given a video view of everyone in the car, enables her to talk to the child (“How was school?”), and then, by pressing a button on her cellphone, has the car drive the child to her music teacher’s house.  The car then swings by and picks up the teenage son from football practice and takes him and his best friend to the mall and then swings by and picks up the daughter and takes her home.  The car then drives itself to the husband’s workplace and waits for his workday to end and then drives him home.  Then the car drives to the wife’s workplace and waits for her day to end and then drives her home.  Because families now only need one car, expect families to use some of that savings to purchase more expensive cars to increase their riding comfort.

Another change will be how downtown apartment complexes will have their parking lots far away from their apartment buildings where land is cheaper.  Then when apartment tenants want to go somewhere, they would simply take out their smartphones and press a (virtual) button to summon their car to where they'd like it to pick them up.  The smartphone will then give an estimated time of arrival for the car so the people can know how much time they have before they need to get down to the car.  Likewise, downtown stores, malls, theaters, etc. will also have far away parking lots for their customers to send their robo-cars and from which to summon them.
Still another change that will result from having computer-driven cars is where the "driver" sits.  Currently, drivers sit in the front left seat (right seat in UK and other places where you drive on the left).  However, with computer-driven cars, the "driver" will sit in the back seat because the front seats will likely face backwards.  This change will result from cars having tables which all the passengers will sit around.  This way parents can play cards and games with their children during the ride using such a table.  The parents still can keep an eye on where they're going (and have vehicle read-out gauges embedded into their side of the table for their viewing only) while also engaging their children.  And this will make cars even safer for children since facing backwards provides better protection in a front car collusion.
Yet another change will be society's acceptance of auto fatalities ... or rather lack of acceptance of them.  Today, with roughly 40,000 auto fatalities a year in the US alone (250,000 world-wide), only major car accidents with at least twenty deaths are considered frontpage news and reported to the public by the press.  However, with the HIGHLY increased safety record that computer-driven cars will have, even a single car fatality will make headline news once computer-driven cars are the norm.  The public will then want to know what went wrong, what cars might have the faulty programming, what auto makers are doing to make sure that doesn't go wrong again, and how to tell if their car has downloaded the safety upgrade.]

6) First major auto-maker (making more than 100,000 vehicles a year) to offer for sale a computer-driven, human-passenger car approved by all State Departments of Transportation to drive on all roads and highways in all 50 US states.

7) First major auto-maker to ONLY make cars and trucks which are computer driven.

First rental car company (with 100 or more rental locations) to offer:

8) A computer-driven car at any of its rental locations.

9) At least one computer-driven car at all of its rental locations.

10) Only computer-driven vehicles to its customers.

First US state that:

11) Transfers liability from car owner to automaker for computer-driven cars and trucks as well as to no longer require owners to have car insurance for computer-driven cars nor require them to have a driver’s license.

12) Allows the blind and those with severe epilepsy to own and use a computer-driven car in their state.  [Don't be surprised that the blind community becomes a leading lobbying force in getting the federal and state governments to allow autonomous vehicles on roads and highways.  Some of the most militant blind members going so far as doing sit-ins in state capitol buildings, chaining themselves across super-highways, doing sit-ins at Departments of Motor Vehicles, and possibly even hunger strikes ("Independence or Death!" could become a rallying call).  The press will be a sympathetic audience to such publicity stunts and the blind militants will likely travel across the nation from one demonstration to the next.]

13) Revokes a senior citizen’s driver’s license due to the person no longer being able to safely drive on roads but allows the senior citizen to own and use a computer driven car in his or her state.  [The group to watch on this future challenge is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).  As the AARP is one of the most powerful lobbying organization in the USA, if it gets behind this legislation, I doubt few state legislators, governors, US congresspersons or the US President would vote against such bills.]

14) Prohibits anyone convicted of a DUI from driving a car but allows those people to own and use a computer-driven car in their state.  [The group to watch for this future challenge is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  Whether it gets behind this future challenge will be a good indication on just what MADD is today.  Lately, MADD appears to be more and more a neo-prohibitionist organization than one solely focused on working to stop drunken driving.  As autonomous vehicles will enable alcoholics to drink to get drunk, get into their cars, tell it to take them home (or press a "Home" destination button), and the car will drive them safely home, this future challenge might be revealing about MADD today.  If they strongly lobby for autonomous vehicles (and this future challenge in particular), it is a fairly good indication that MADD is still focused on reducing drunken driving.  However, if they oppose autonomous vehicles on the grounds that it will only encourage people to drink more alcoholic beverages, it will then be clear that MADD is now a neo-prohibitionist organization.]

15) Prohibits human-driven vehicles (including motorcycles) from driving on their state’s super-highways.

16) Prohibits human-driven vehicles (including motorcycles) from driving anywhere in their state except special, privately-owned, sectioned-off, access-controlled roads.  This includes human-driven vehicles from other states not being allowed to enter their state.  As for the before-mentioned special roads, they will be for people who want to drive their classic/antique vehicles and/or to experience what it is like being in control of a vehicle.  Drivers on these special private roads will not be required to possess a driver’s license or to have driver insurance since they're entirely on private land.

17) Eliminates all traffic cops, traffic courts, meter maids, and its Department of Motor Vehicles (and thus the issuing of driver's licenses).

18) Removes all stoplights, stop signs, speed limit signs, and no longer paints any kind of lines on roads.  [Double lines, passing lines, outer side lines, etc. are no longer needed.]

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