The future of the smart car has been defined many different ways by many different people. Some people feel a smart car means more technology inside the vehicle, others feel it means the car can do more tasks on its own. Google's co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have a clear picture of what the future of the smart car means. To them it means we're done with vehicle ownership. Google is one of the biggest companies in the world that is the driving force behind technology and it's future. Smartphones and computers are just the beginning and that's become more clear with every passing day. As more and more information comes out of Google, we see the word "smart" being put in front of more things. Smartphone, smartwatch, smart-car and so on. However, only one of those "smart" objects will have the biggest effect on humanity and the world we live in-the smart-car.
The smart car is a project that seems miles away but is actually very close and Brin knows exactly what his intentions are with the project. "I hope that that could really transform transportation around the world, and reduce the need for individual car ownership, the need for parking, road congestion and so forth." Brin details this future during a recent interview with VC Vinod Khosla. According to Brin, the world need only embrace technology to become more efficient. Brin details his idea like this, "With self-driving cars, you don't really need much in the way of parking, because you don't need one car per person. They just come and get you when you need them. You can also make much more efficient road use, if you–and this is not something we've developed yet, but it's certainly been simulated by many. They can form trains. They can go high speed, perhaps much higher than our highway speeds here."
Going from that description, Brin sees a world full of taxis, that are not driven by people, but that are smart cars. Imagine Lyft, but without the driver. "It's also really nice to not have a steering wheel, not have pedals. Maybe the seats should face each other, things like that. I'm not sure that the traditional car designs are ideal for self-driving." While there are many different benefits that would add a huge amount of efficiency to the world, the question is, how efficient do we want to be? Personally, there are times when I just want to go for a drive, take some roads that others don't really travel down, particularly one with lots of turns and curves that make driving more fun. Ideally there would need to be a world where the two exist as options. The idea of smart-cars goes deeper than just a car that can drive itself. The future will always depend on humanity and it's leaders. Where our leaders are concerned, technology may be moving too fast or going somewhere that could mean less opportunity for the people. Still, when it comes to the government, Brin and Page have opinions there as well.
According to Page, people can be made happy if given the necessities, "Housing, security, opportunities for your kids–anthropologists have been identifying these things," Page continues, "It's hard for us to provide those things." Brin's opinions on the matter throw the government right into the mix. "Tax more of the things we don't want, like carbon." The issue here is that the government doesn't always play well with others, it may seem, at times, that the government is on a different page than the rest of us. Page says, "I do worry that when I look at the government–our interactions with governments around things we get interested in–spectrum or whatever–that it becomes pretty illogical." One of the biggest obstacles that Google is facing is the many different versions and styles of laws around the world. It may seem that the level of political correctness has reached new heights. This includes laws that have been written and surpass 50 pages, which according to Larry Page is something that shouldn't be happening. Page also feels that for every law that is enacted, there should be one that's removed. If the world can meet together and come to the same ideas of laws and guidelines, maybe Google will get the efficient world they're aiming for. Until then, we may be restricted when it comes to future technology and never actually reach that ultimate efficient world. The full interview has been embedded down below. Tell us, what do you think needs to change in order to bring the world to a new level of efficiency? Do Page and Brin have a fantastic idea of car ownership in the future, or do you still want to own your car? Let's keep the conversation going, this is our future after all.