by futurist consultant Ersan Seer


Automated Vehicles Will Change How We Work – Driverless Cars (Part 3/6)

Automated Vehicles Will Change How We Work

Note: Click above graphic to see the full-sized infographic!

This article is the third in a series about driverless, autonomous cars—that is, cars with the intelligence and technology to drive themselves (and you) safely to your destination—and how these vehicles will completely change your notion of travel, work and home.

  1. Google’s Driverless Cars Will Change Everything
  2. How Future Autonomous Cars Will Change Travel
  3. Automated Vehicles Will Change How We Work
  4. Automated Cars Will Redefine “Home”
  5. Design & Technology of Autonomous Vehicles of the Future
  6. Consequences of Intelligent Transport

Driving is a tremendous waste of time. Driverless cars will allow us to be productive while traveling.

Efficiency is important to you. While working on a project, you’re wondering to yourself, “How can I make this process go smoother next time, so I can get it done quicker?”

In this Age of Access and Distraction, we’re trying to cram more and more into our daily lives. Turns out there’s an upper limit to how much your brain can process. Time is getting more valuable.

Enter automated vehicles. On average, automated vehicles will free up nearly an hour of productive time each day by allowing you to work while traveling—a fact auto makers will be sure to exploit in their advertisements.

Driving is a tremendous waste of time. It forces us to wait, to engage primarily in the act of driving, for the duration of our trip.

Future generations will look back and think, “that was the period in history where travel was manual. How prehistoric.” (Kind of like how you feel while waiting for grandma to find a phone number in her pocketbook.).

In the near future, you won’t just be working while traveling; you’ll be traveling while working.

I’ll explain what I mean.

At the core of this prediction is a simple premise: since travel will be more productive, trips can become longer. A lot longer.

Today, a typical “workday” entails 30 minutes of travel to work, 8 hours of working in one spot, and 30 minutes of travel home.

But a typical workday a few decades from now?

8am: Leave home in Denver, Colorado. Work for 4 hours in your mobile office (automated vehicle), as you travel at 300mph to Sacramento, California.
12pm: Lunch with important client in Sacramento.
5pm: Home in time for dinner.

What will you be able to do inside the automated vehicle while it travels?

Strange and wondrous things. Or, at least, anything you can do at home. Read on.

Read the next post →
Driverless Cars (Part 4/6): Automated Cars Will Redefine “Home”

Start from the beginning →
Driverless Cars (Part 1/6): Google’s Cars Will Change Everything



Sidenote from the author:

Like the articles? Disagree with me? Tell me how I did in the comments below!

Ersan Seer

Ersan Seer is a futurist consultant, coolhunter, market researcher, strategic advisor, and concept artist. Ersan hungers to make the future world a more peaceful, survivable place.  → Read More & Book Ersan Seer

7 Responses to Automated Vehicles Will Change How We Work – Driverless Cars (Part 3/6)

  1. Sally Mason says:

    1) To travel at such high speeds, driverless vehicles will require a whole new, uninterrupted highway system/network outfitted with integrated technology and wireless communication systems capable of high-speed data transmission and retrieval. Is anybody talking about how much all this will cost and how it will be paid for?

    2) What about trucks and buses? Will they be driverless too? Will they also travel 300mph, on the same roadways as cars?

    This is fun, Ersan! Gets my brain in a lather! Hope you don’t mind me playing devil’s advocate. :)

    • Ersan Seer says:

      I love that you’re playing devil’s advocate! I create these forward-thinking articles not to be right, but to create a conversation. The conversation then creates the future.

      1) A brand-new infrastructure would be required. Even if we could upgrade the highway system with the technology necessary for wireless communication, the curves are the problem. At anything 100mph+, the G forces would be intolerable for everyday commute.

      The new infrastructure for superfast land travel would probably be built piece by piece, more of a novelty for the wealthy at first. We can look at how interstate infrastructures for trains, automobiles, and airplanes were built to predict how driverless car ‘ultra highways’ will become the status quo.

      Generally speaking, sooner or later, local and federal governments will be involved, but I think it will be mostly privatized at first.

      Here’s a sneak peek from the 5th article: “In the future we may have ultra highways, toll-roads for the wealthy. Your autonomous car will take you to a waiting station, where you’ll sit in line for 15 minutes. Then your maglev car will enter a vaccuumed chamber, and you’ll be whisked away like superman after a quad shot latte.”

      2) Public transportation. This part excites me a lot. Here’s a snippet from the next article. :)

      “In fact, it appears to me that much of the middle class won’t have their own vehicles. Instead they’ll rely on a robust public transportation system, a network of hundreds of thousands of automated cars swarming around the city like ants.

      The middle class traveler will always have an automated car less than a minute away—awaiting your beck and call like a faithful dog.”

  2. Sally Mason says:

    I believe there’ll need to be reasons more compelling than “novelty” to get this idea off the drawing board. What do I do with my super expensive driverless car when I come to the end of a short piece of new highway? Will I have to exit and find my way to an old road and take over as the driver? I’m wondering what would induce me to buy a driverless car that had to be driven manually most of the time. Come to think of it, since most super rich people have chauffeurs to do their driving, their cars are already ‘driverless’ as far as their own involvement and effort is concerned. Besides, if I’m super rich, wouldn’t I much rather travel in my private jet?

    One thing I always think of when I read about visions for the future is that none of the futurists in the 1970s predicted the personal computer and the internet – and yet those two “out of the blue” technologies changed our ‘future’ in ways that all but the craziest science fiction writers were incapable of imagining at the time. I’m wondering if there’s another invention or discovery lurking just beyond our current consciousness that might hit like lightning and eliminate the need for cars altogether…

    • Ersan Seer says:

      Good questions – I’m excited to see how the future responds to these issues. The chauffeur thing was funny – and a great point. Maybe the early adopters of driverless cars won’t be the super rich.

      Futurists also are notorious for being wrong (flying cars were supposed to be the norm by now). It happens because they put too much value in being right in their predictions!

      I have to be careful not to fall into that trap. Of course I try hard to be correct – but I’ll be okay if a lot of my predictions turn out to be absurdly off the mark. I just love talking about futurism. :)

  3. Sally Mason says:

    To too many people these days the ‘future’ means ‘next week’, so I’m impressed that you’re looking so far ahead. As far as I’m concerned, the correct-ness of what you predict isn’t nearly as important as the imagination you’re using to grapple with it.

    I think you’d really enjoy Stewart Brand’s strange little book, THE CLOCK OF THE LONG NOW. It’s in the top five of my mind-blowing-books list (non-fiction) and I highly recommend it as some of the best ‘food for thought’ I’ve ever encountered. For more info, here’s a link to it on Amazon:

    • Ersan Seer says:

      I did read it! Years ago!

      I was fascinated by it and it played a major role in leading me to futurism/futurology.

      If I recall correctly, you’re the one who got it for me. :)

  4. Sally Mason says:

    PS: Re Brand’s book, this reader’s brief review explains beautifully why I think you need to read it. :)

    “There are two kinds of books that make you feel smart. The first kind is so laughably awful that you put it down thinking “I’m WAY smarter than that guy.” The second, and better, kind is a book that leaves you with a couple dozen exciting new ideas whizzing around your head, firing your imagination and inspiring thoughts you would never otherwise have had. This book is the second kind. With solidly-documented ideas and examples drawn from a hundred sources, Brand demonstrates that our relationship to time, and the models we use to think about it, are no longer useful and need to be changed. The new models for thinking about it are included at no charge.”

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