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When can I rent a Google car at SFO?

November 25, 2013

The New Yorker summarizes Google’s vision for a fully autonomous car. So it is a bit disappointing to read that the legislative change for that still requires a licensed driver.

The juicy economic beachfront for the fully automated car is rental to business and recreational visitors to large cities. It would overcome the major frictions visitors face when renting a car. Don’t know which rental companies are convenient to the airport? The autonomous car picks you up at the gate. Don’t know how to get to your hotel or customer’s business campus? The car does. Aren’t sure how to negotiate the insurance kabuki? Google rolls autonomous car insurance into the rental. Don’t know where the gas station is for filling up on return? The car gets itself filled on its way back to its rental home. Aren’t a licensed driver? It shouldn’t matter.

The city rental car doesn’t have to manage south Texas ranch roads, tow a trailer, or handle snowy mountain passes. It doesn’t matter if a rental car has innovation that buyers might not be ready to acquire. It just has to get visitors around its own city. And once it does that, it soon will displace taxis. And many permanent residents will come to realize they don’t need a car, just economic and convenient auto service.

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