Uber's Robotics Plans Could Use Advice From SF Authors

Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick has been quoted as saying "We're at the very beginning stages of becoming a robotics company." Is this a kind of backstory for how the various robotic taxi companies in science fiction got their start?

Kalanick says:


(Uber uses traffic advertising drones in Mexico)

"These cars, when they go into self-driving, you're now starting to become a robotics company so I think we're at the very beginning stages of becoming a robotics company," Kalanick said. "We have hundreds of of scientists working on all parts of robotics, self-driving being number one."

Kalanick also confirmed that the company is currently testing a few of its self-driving cars in the streets of San Francisco, though they are focused on mapping, rather than picking up passengers as those in Pittsburgh do.

"As we move towards the future, autonomy is a pretty critical thing for us — it's existential," he said, though he was quick to point out that the technology wouldn't be ready to replace human drivers entirely for quite awhile.

Science fiction writers have approached the idea of the autonomous cab company in different ways. Philip K. Dick liked the idea of robotic cab drivers (as in A Present for Pat, 1952) or the robot taxi (from Solar Lottery, 1955).

Robert Heinlein wrote about autocabs in Between Planets (1951). The sf Grandmaster had some advice for Uber on how to deal with scofflaw passengers:

...when he tried to get out the door would not open. This reminded him that he must first pay the fare shown in the meter.. He was expecting disconsolately to be carted by the machine off to the nearest police station when he was rescued...

Charles Stross describes a future problem in his excellent 2007 novel Halting State. In the novel, fleets of driverless drones trade of between being remotely piloted and autonomous on highways. However, watch out for hijackings!

Guoanbu assassins have used this technique in the past: They hijack a taxi or car, drive it to a sufficiently isolated location, and crash it... [Passengers] must break out of the taxi while it is stationary at traffic lights, or break into the driver's compartment and disable it..."

See Tin Cabby from Cities in Flight [1957], the autocab from Between Planets [1951] and the autonomic cab from The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch [1964].

There have been real-life attempts to create automated taxis prior to the current era of autonomous cars; see ULTra - driverless automatic taxi and the RobuCAB Robotic Taxi.

Via Mashable.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/5/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...' HG Wells, 1898.

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...' - Henry Slesar, 1958.

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...' - Harry Harrison, 1958.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'

Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.