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"The idea I want to push next is that the United States should make Siberia a Protectorate. Pay the Russians off a hundred, two hundred billion dollars and simply run Siberia in an ecologically responsible way."
- Gregory Benford

Autocab  
  An fully automated taxi cab.  

What is the best way to get around in an unfamiliar town without being noticed?

He was glad to crawl into his autocab and close the cover.


(Auto-cab from 'Between Planets' by Robert Heinlein)

He dialed the address and settled back. The little car lurched forward, climbed a ramp, threaded through a freight tunnel, and mounted an elevator. At first Don tried to keep track of where it was taking him but the tortured convolutions of the ant hill called "New Chicago" would have made a topologist dyspeptic; he gave up. The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.

Technovelgy from Between Planets, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1951
Additional resources -

The company that runs autocabs also knows a few things about human nature:

...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...

The illustration shown above is by Brendan Lynch from the story's publication in The Blue Book Magazine in September of 1951; thanks to @SMOF_ for the picture and citation.

For an interesting contrast, take a look at the robot cab driver from Philp K. Dick's A Present for Pat.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Between Planets
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Between Planets
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Autocab-related news articles:
  - 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge Videos
  - Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'
  - AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center

Articles related to Transportation
San Francisco Autobus
Volvo's Autonomous Truck
Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
Robotaxi By Cruise Premieres in Austin, Texas

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