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Interactive video lesson plan for: Autonomous Cars 101, with Brad Templeton

Activity overview:

For more information please see Templeton's website: http://robocars.com.

Brad Templeton explains how autonomous vehicles will be a major disruptive innovation arriving sooner than most are expecting. Templeton is Board Member and Former Chair at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Track Chair for Computing at Singularity University.

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This video is a highlight of Templeton's presentation at Exponential Finance 2014, presented by Singularity University and CNBC.

Transcript - The first thing to understand before looking at cars that drive themselves is just how much of our lives cars have become, especially in the United States but really all around the world. There are 33,000 Americans killed every year in car accidents. More killed in car accidents in the United States than in its entire history of war going back to the Revolutionary War. We have 1.2 million people killed around the world. It's one of the world's major diseases - if it were a disease - in terms of killing people. And we also give 25 percent of all of our energy to personal transportation and 25 percent of our greenhouse gases are going to the car. Now this is not true in Manhattan, but in Los Angeles it's estimated that more then half of the land in the city belongs to the cars, its garages, its the driveways, its roads, its parking lots, all these things land that belongs to the car. We have given up so much of ourselves and we depend on the car for so much it's shaped our cities, it's shaped our lives. The fact that now cars are going to be a computer thing. That the computer is going to be the most important part of the car, the thing that drives the car will be more important than the engine. And this will be on the Moore's Law curve we've talked about getting better, not the engine getting better every year but the important part that drives it getting better every year the way computer technology and network technology do. We're going to rewrite really important elements of our society when we make transportation one of these computerized technologies.

Most people thought that cars that drive themselves were something from the science fiction. I still routinely run into people who say "This is not in my lifetime, 20 or 30 years away." But if this is clearly wrong and it is becoming more and more clearly long as time goes on. The most famous project and the most advanced project has come not from a car company but from Google. And I worked actually on Google's team for a while in building that vehicle. So they have both logged about 700,000 miles driving on ordinary city streets with their vehicles. And they've now just released in May of 2014 they have released a new vehicle that's they're building from scratch, designing from scratch which has no steering wheel in it, no pedals, you just get in and you have given it a destination probably on your phone and away it goes and takes you there. And that's the real game changer when it comes out.

The car companies also are all working on efforts. Every major car company has some sort of effort and Nissan and Mercedes and a Volvo have all announced they'll be selling cars in about 2020 that look a little bit more like traditional cars. But what Google's car does it's a vehicle that can run without a steering wheel and thus it can run unmanned and that's where it gets really interesting. Because a vehicle that can run on it's own is a vehicle that can deliver itself to you. It's a vehicle that can refuel or recharge itself without you having to worry about it. And it's a vehicle that can store or what we used to call park itself, although it may mostly function as a taxi. And as a taxi it wouldn't even park it all it would just go and pick up the next person it has to pick up.

So today when people buy a car they go into the car dealership and they look for a multipurpose car. They ask: "What car do I need for my life?" Because they think "Well I ski twice a year so I need an SUV, even though I live in the city and I need an SUV to get me up to the mountains every so often." Or the number one selling car in America, the Ford F150 pickup truck, which is not what most of those people need. [Transcript truncated, please cut and paste from interactive script under player].

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton

Tagged under: Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU,Brad Templeton,Autonomous Car (Award-Winning Work),Automobile (TV Genre),DEtroit,Tesla Motors (Venture Funded Company),Elon Musk,Googlex,Google,Self-driving car,technology,moore' law,computing,Artificial Intelligence (Industry),Robots,Drones,Greenhouse Effect (Literature Subject),Oil,Petroleum,climate change,EFF,Singularity University (Nonprofit Organization)

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