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 ")

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...' - Harry Harrison, 1962.

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

 

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

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
It's the polite thing to do, and has been the polite thing to do for about four generations.

Superfast Replicator: Volumetric Additive Manufacturing
I can't wait. Bring it on.

DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.'

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...'

Rplate Digital License Plates Now Legal In Michigan
'Gragg's digital ink license plates ...'

Can Musk Starship Astronauts Use Magnetic Boots?
'Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron...'

Giant Dolphin Spotted On Jupiter!
'Now at last he could appreciate its real size and complexity...'

Musk's Starship An SF Fan's Dream Come True
Perfect for testing, perfect for fans!

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

Fishy Facial Recognition Now Possible
'Palenkis can identify random line patterns better than any other species in the universe.'

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

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.