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This Robotics Expert Explains Why Kids Born Today Will Never Have to Drive a Car

This Robotics Expert Explains Why Kids Born Today Will Never Have to Drive a Car : chombosan / Getty

chombosan / Getty

Technological innovation always comes in ways you would least expect. When you think of America, one of the first things you picture is driving a car to a good job to support your family. Driving yourself and car ownership are fundamental to American life, yet in as little time as a decade this too could be made obsolete.

Henrik Christensen, the head of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, sat down with The San Diego Tribune due to an imminent robotics forum taking place in San Diego mid-February. Christensen was one of the most prominent Georgia Tech Engineers, and was hired in July to run UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute. Beyond just driving, he paints a more complex picture of how automation will impact the economy. When answering a question on how this might affect employment he had this to say:

“We see two trends. We will use robots and automation to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas, primarily from Southeast Asia. At the same time, we will see some jobs get displaced by automation. There will be fully automated, driverless transportation in this country by 2020, and that will eliminate some jobs now held by workers like truck drivers and taxi drivers.”

This is a concern the Department of Transportation has shared. As evidenced by an advisory committee established to prepare for this possibility.

On the subject of whether children of the future will own and drive cars the way in which we have become accustomed, the outlook is groundbreaking. “My own prediction is that kids born today will never get to drive a car. Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out. All the automotive companies — Daimler, GM, Ford — are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.”

With companies such as Tesla developing autonomous cars already, and experiments in San Francisco with driverless cars, the future is coming. The question is, how long before I have to jailbreak my car to go over the speed limit?

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