View Single Post
Old 11-10-2017, 05:54 AM
LSLGuy is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 21,035
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Anyways, once there are vast autonomous car fleets, some of them are going to be hybrids and most will be full electric. So responding to a disaster would in theory be a matter of making the right mouseclicks, and deploying every hybrid autonomous vehicle within a couple states of Florida to meet the huge surge in demand of people trying to escape the next big one.
And what do you suppose the people in those "couple of states near Florida" will use for transportation to get to work while all "their" local cars are busy ferrying en masse to the tip of FL? And where will all those cars charge as they do so?

And who will be paying for the deadhead time and mileage? Remember that a car will drive empty from, say, Atlanta to Miami, pick up an evacuee household, carry them back to, say, Atlanta then do it again a week later in reverse. The point being there's between 200 and 1000 miles of extra ferrying above and beyond the normal ferrying that's part and parcel of autonomous vehicle ops.

One solution to paying for the ferrying is to charge premium prices for evacuation services. Sounds economically sensible, but just like price gouging for board-up supplies or generators or gasoline is illegal, it's a pretty good bet that price gouging for evacuation transportation services will be (and should be) illegal.

Yes, I get the basic economic / physics principle that if you spread out a surge in demand over a larger area or a longer time you can ameliorate some of the worst effects of the peak. But you don't alter the total amount of demand in the surge. You're just moving it around in space or time. In fact, given the big bump in ferrying required, you're actually increasing road miles driven by about 2x over what the actual evacuation demand is.

Do not mistake individual technological possibility with collective economic and political outcomes. Can some of this be done? Sure. Is it a magic wand that easy peasy fixes the whole problem with a couple mouseclicks? Not even a little bit.

The problem with most futurist SF is it assumes nearly infinite capital demanding roughly negligible rates of return. So it can be deployed almost willy nilly in pursuit of social goods, public convenience, etc. Our future may indeed have a lot more capital available than we have today. But nothing in human history suggests the return the owners will demand will be significantly less than they demand today.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-10-2017 at 05:54 AM.