With 68 ratings
By: Lawrence D. Burns and Christopher Shulgan
Purchased At: $30.79
An automotive and tech world insider investigates the quest to develop and perfect the driverless car—an innovation that promises to be the most disruptive change to our way of life since the smartphone
We stand on the brink of a technological revolution. Soon, few of us will own our own automobiles and instead will get around in driverless electric vehicles that we summon with the touch of an app. We will be liberated from driving, prevent over 90% of car crashes, provide freedom of mobility to the elderly and disabled, and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
Autonomy is the story of the maverick engineers and computer nerds who are creating the revolution. Longtime advisor to the Google Self-Driving Car team and former GM research and development chief Lawrence D. Burns provides the perfectly-timed history of how we arrived at this point, in a character-driven and heavily reported account of the unlikely thinkers who accomplished what billion-dollar automakers never dared.
Beginning with the way 9/11 spurred the U.S. government to set a million-dollar prize for a series of off-road robot races in the Mojave Desert up to the early 2016 stampede to develop driverless technology, Autonomy is a page-turner that represents a chronicle of the past, diagnosis of the present, and prediction of the future—the ultimate guide to understanding the driverless car and navigating the revolution it sparks.
Lawrence Burns starts with a concise, researched summary of the current situation with all of us guzzling fuel to drive a heavy, larger than needed car from one parking spot to another on our occasional trips in our mostly idle personal autos.
I’m in Oakland CA and until reading this book saw no hope for any future solution to Bay area traffic. But Burns lays out the dramatic reduction in “cars” needed if we move from personally owned autos to fleets of driverless cars readily responding to our calls for rides to whatever destinations we have.
Any politician or other public official facing traffic issues should, after reading this book, want their jurisdiction at the head of the line for those city managers thoughtful enough to lead their municipalities in participation in testing these vehicles.
Yes, very sadly there will be tragedies ahead with these vehicles – we’ve already seen some and they too are well documented in this book. But these vehicles have the potential and the promise of dramatic future reduction in accidents. Burns strongly makes that case.
I had a first-hand seat to the advent of the digital camera era and as a result to Kodak losing its enormous businesses in film, in paper, in chemicals, and in picture developing/printing. The automobile and energy production and maintenance businesses face the same fate at the same pace that Kodak faced. If you’re in any business dependent on automobiles – from manufacturing, to parts production, to sales, to servicing, to gasoline production/sales, to parking, to insurance – this book will lead you through rethinking the future of your businesses. Don’t believe it? Don’t think it will happen in the “near” future? Read this book and it’ll make you rethink your futures.
My hope is that this happens before my own car needs replacement, as I’m hopeful it will be the last car I ever own.
This is a riveting insider tale of the first decades in the quest for developing and marketing autonomous vehicles. Featuring enough technical information to give geeks something to enjoy while not burying the reader with arcane engineering detail, this work strikes the perfect mix. The chapters on the first DARPA autonomous vehicle challenges are particularly compelling and are told in a vivid, page-turning manner.
The author retells the many personal conflicts that plagued the business in the later years, some of which impacted him, but by and large he manages to put his personal biases aside and tell the story in an informative and reasonable manner. However, despite his intentions, the reader can still detect an anti-Uber tilt, although he is open about his allegiances and interests. Another improvement could have been to address some of the autonomous vehicle activity outside of North America. While North America in general and the Detroit-Silicon Valley rivalry (which eventually, as he points out, became a collaboration) in particular were a clear driving force in the development of the autonomous car, there could have been a few more comments on what was happening outside the continent. Ethical issues, too, could have benefited from a little more coverage.
But these are quibbles. Written in a very readable style by a man with deep knowledge of the car business, this is an excellent introduction to the field and a must-read for all who want to know how we got here and where we’re going. It will make you an optimist.
Der Eindruck wird primär vom Autor selbst gestört und der Art und Weise wie er versucht seine Rolle bei GM und später Waymo gleichzeitig bescheiden darzustellen und trotzdem seine - seiner Meinung nach - Wichtigkeit zu betonen. Typische Humble-Brag-Symptome. An einer Stelle kulminiert es in der geradezu schmerzhaften Zusammenfassung, in der er neben den großen 3 Trends (Selbstfahrfähigkeit, Elektroantrieb, Car-Sharing (Uber, Lyft)) auch die EN-V Studie von GM ins Spiel bringt und sie auf dieselbe Stufe stellt. Bei EN-V handelt es sich um eine dieser typischen, futuristischen 0815-Studien, die Autobauer auf großen Events (in diesem Fall die Expo 2010 in Shanghai) als reine PR-Maßnahme vorstellen. Natürlich hat der Autor diese persönlich mit begleitet (zumindest in der Anfangsphase), was in dem sehr langatmigen und enttäuschendem Kapitel zu seiner (inhaltlich erfolglosen) Konzernkarriere geschildert wird. Sofern man dieses Kapitel jedoch übersteht (oder überspringt) bleibt ein recht spannender Eindruck über die DARPA-Challenges und die Entwicklung von Waymo und Uber in den letzten Jahren.