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I've been amazed at just how many kids here in the states have almost zero interest in driving. They call a manual Millennial theft protection and they are not far from right. I used to insist on being the driver every chance I had with my parents and all my daughter wants is someone else to drive.

I did insist that she end up backwards at high speed having lost it on a track before she was cut loose on public roads by herself. She really enjoyed the track day and the instructor (daughters will not listen to dads at that age :) ) really enjoyed the training. Over a hundred on the straight heading to a sweeping 180 and the instructor says brake. My daughter starts to brake. The instructor says Brake. My daughter brakes a bit harder. The instructor says BRAKE!!!! and they lock up and off into the run off. The instructor comes back and says she listens well. I tell him she will do EXACTLY what you tell her to do. They spent the rest of the day running down everything on track using the corners to catch much faster cars. Even with all that and an enormous grin on her face at the end of the day, she has little to no interest in driving. Just one data point.

Oh, and I have done a ton of embedded micro controller programming in closed loop control systems. FSD is anything but at this point.

However, this is where I see the short term promise of AI.
You have to sit through a few minutes of seemingly useless information but, if you are patient, there is a section just after this point in the video where the AI is looking at all vehicles decision tree in real time on a bending single car width passage road with cars parked on both sides. The ability of the AI to consider all other player's intentions and options all the time is intriguing. Having FSD running in background mode watching everyone else all the time and constantly updating their decision tree would make for one heck of a safety feature.
I don't think it will be too long after the full adoption of full automation that humans will be unable to drive. The speeds will to be far too fast and the distances between vehicles far too small for humans to be able to drive in the conditions that the machines will be capable of. Besides, there will be no steering wheel or other controls.
 

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12.5% is directly looking at what batteries the top energy density battery pack manufacturers are using. For the 2012 Model S Tesla was using 240Wh/kg batteries and currently they are using 250Wh/kg for the Model 3 (not sure about the Plaid, could be a bit higher). 270Wh/kg is what Rimac is using (I think). Really, more realistically it's less than 12.5%, pretty much zero, although, again, there could be a sudden jump with a "new generation" of the large form batteries.

The density problems indeed could be solved by 2030 (if we got another 30% improvement in pack density, for example), although that's probably not gonna be for all cars. The current trend seems to go toward LFP batteries, which have a density that's much worse (185Wh/kg), but are also a lot cheaper to produce. So for cheaper cars the density improvements might not be that great and they might only be reserved for high-end vehicles that are using Li-Ions.

Also, what I would mention is, energy density probably isn't the main problem. The main problem is the slow charging speeds. After all, many EVs don't have ranges that are much shorter than what you might get from your 720S or something. However, when it takes 30min+ to fill 60% of your battery, it's a major pain and it makes the cars near impossible to justify for anyone who parks on the street. If we could double charging speeds in the next 10 years it would probably have a much greater effect on EV adoption than improving energy density by another 30%. But, of course, doubling charging speeds is hardly trivial and actually requires the opposite of what improving energy density requires - that is power density. Power dense batteries (as you might find on the P1, Speedtail, etc) weigh massively more than batteries you find on pure EVs where the battery is allowed to be large and therefore doesn't need to be as power dense (the battery in the P1 only has 49Wh/kg).
so what's the difference between power dense and energy dense..? the p1 system is 600v, so somewhere between the more mainstream systems today and the more advanced ones which are 800v... the energy density is low on the battery i grant you... but how do you define that it is power dense? the electic motor it fed is 'only' 160 bhp...

incidentally i have asked mclaren how the new suggested replacement battery is going to charge more quickly than the old battery considering they're both 600v and will be using the same architecture so assume no more power can be put through the system, unless the system as orgiianlly designed had signficant headroom... just for clarity i am referring to the internal recharging when the car is running and moving, not the recharge from the recharger, which is also remaining the same..
 

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I don't think it will be too long after the full adoption of full automation that humans will be unable to drive. The speeds will to be far too fast and the distances between vehicles far too small for humans to be able to drive in the conditions that the machines will be capable of. Besides, there will be no steering wheel or other controls.
you think the travelling speed will increase when we eventually go to FSD? interesting i would have assumed will travel slower, EV range, pollution etc being the main reasons.
yes theoretically, if all cars were using FSD and communicated with each other, we could travel on highways at 150mph, in massive trains, with cars 1 yard behind each other... dont expect that to happen in my life time though
 

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you think the travelling speed will increase when we eventually go to FSD? interesting i would have assumed will travel slower, EV range, pollution etc being the main reasons.
yes theoretically, if all cars were using FSD and communicated with each other, we could travel on highways at 150mph, in massive trains, with cars 1 yard behind each other... dont expect that to happen in my life time though
It's one of the theoretical reasons for 5G adoption, the protocol is fast enough to allow real-time communication between vehicles. As I said to Lola, I don't think most of us will live to see it, but not because of technological reasons, rather for infrastructure reasons. I think the technology will be there in the foreseeable future, but there are propulsion problems to solve (I'm still not convinced that EV will be the eventual solution), road construction problems, legacy vehicles, luddite resistance, etc, etc. I'm not a big believer in the "singularity" nonsense, but I do believe that we're close to a point where machine learning will suddenly start to improve exponentially.
 

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so what's the difference between power dense and energy dense..? the p1 system is 600v, so somewhere between the more mainstream systems today and the more advanced ones which are 800v... the energy density is low on the battery i grant you... but how do you define that it is power dense? the electic motor it fed is 'only' 160 bhp...

incidentally i have asked mclaren how the new suggested replacement battery is going to charge more quickly than the old battery considering they're both 600v and will be using the same architecture so assume no more power can be put through the system, unless the system as orgiianlly designed had signficant headroom... just for clarity i am referring to the internal recharging when the car is running and moving, not the recharge from the recharger, which is also remaining the same..
Power density is how much power the battery can supply per unit of weight (or volume), energy density is how much energy it can hold per unit of weight or volume. The P1 battery can supply 180hp (it's gonna be a bit more than that because you need to account for losses) at 96kg for power density of 1.87hp/kg and the later upgraded battery which weighs 41kg is at 4.39hp/kg. If you look at the Tesla Plaid battery, that can supply 1020hp and weighs 540kg, for a power density of 1.88hp/kg.

I am not sure that higher voltage system is necessarily automatically better, Tesla is still using a 400V system. Ultimately the charging speed is limited by what each individual cell in the battery can handle and that's just a few volts (but don't quote me on this, I don't really quite understand it myself). The new P1 battery, from what I can gather, is not gonna recharge any faster than the old one. Well, it will be able to reach its full capacity faster - if that's what Mclaren are trying to tell you - but the key point (which Mclaren curiously omit from their marketing materials) is that the new battery is much smaller at only 1.3kWh (while the old on was 4.7kWh). So obviously, since you need to only charge less than 1/3rd of the capacity it's gonna recharge to full faster, even though the charging speed itself is gonna be the same (or likely very similar). In effect, with the new battery you'll be getting a car that'll be able to provide the same electrical power but which is quite a bit lighter - but at the cost of having the electrical only range massively reduced. Also, if you were ever in a situation (likely on track) where you'd be expending the battery capacity faster you could charge it back, then the new battery is not gonna last very long (only about 36s at full power if there was no ability to recharge).
 

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Power density is how much power the battery can supply per unit of weight (or volume), energy density is how much energy it can hold per unit of weight or volume. The P1 battery can supply 180hp (it's gonna be a bit more than that because you need to account for losses) at 96kg for power density of 1.87hp/kg and the later upgraded battery which weighs 41kg is at 4.39hp/kg. If you look at the Tesla Plaid battery, that can supply 1020hp and weighs 540kg, for a power density of 1.88hp/kg.

I am not sure that higher voltage system is necessarily automatically better, Tesla is still using a 400V system. Ultimately the charging speed is limited by what each individual cell in the battery can handle and that's just a few volts (but don't quote me on this, I don't really quite understand it myself). The new P1 battery, from what I can gather, is not gonna recharge any faster than the old one. Well, it will be able to reach its full capacity faster - if that's what Mclaren are trying to tell you - but the key point (which Mclaren curiously omit from their marketing materials) is that the new battery is much smaller at only 1.3kWh (while the old on was 4.7kWh). So obviously, since you need to only charge less than 1/3rd of the capacity it's gonna recharge to full faster, even though the charging speed itself is gonna be the same (or likely very similar). In effect, with the new battery you'll be getting a car that'll be able to provide the same electrical power but which is quite a bit lighter - but at the cost of having the electrical only range massively reduced. Also, if you were ever in a situation (likely on track) where you'd be expending the battery capacity faster you could charge it back, then the new battery is not gonna last very long (only about 36s at full power if there was no ability to recharge).
noted on the power density.. not sure what that really tells us though? this suggests that the new P1 battery is more power dense than the old, which might be considered good, but the actual issue is the one you describe, which is the conclusion that i had come to, that as usefullness for the car it's not hugely helpful.. i suspect it'll be out of power not long after a run down the dottinger as i did in my own car... which is not going to be hugely useful for the rest of the lap.. i am also apparently one of the rare owners in the wrold that use the e mode.. less than 10% apparently... with the new battery this is now 3km.... which is useless.. pretty much

indeed we have been told it will recharge faster.. .which i struggled to believe given the rest of the architecture is the same and voltage is unchanged... so of course the battery is full quicker cos it is smaller, but a small bucket under the same tap will be full faster than a bigger bucket.. !

as regards 800v systems, i guess the argument is that the same amps can produce more power and hence faster charging as we see across all those cars that have the 800v architecture.. i am not aware of the downsides of 800v, apart from heavier cabling and the like.. .i am not in any way an expert in this area..

incidentally pininfarina mentioned to me that the recharge in the battista interally is 450kw even if current rechargers are maxed out at 300kw so they still have some headroom if superchargers improve their ability to recharge.. they also felt that batteries were at their heaviest now for two reasons.. they thought that recharging infrastructure was now fast enough so as the constant search for 'increased range' would be irrelevant.. and that they thought that battery capacities would actually reduce in future as a result..

it makes some sense as unless you are doing very long journeys in these things, you're not going to recharge to full if you only need to travel a further 100km .. with fossil fuels people tend to fill to full, but with EV, people will fill to get home (as i do) and then charge when the car is doing nothing.. admittedly if you don't have your own infrastructure then it may be less obvious, but if you have a charger, even if not in your garage or outside your house, you still have the option to attach it when your journey is over and your car is not required for travel any more..
 

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MOTORTREND
One Day Soon, Your Car's Body Panels Might Be Batteries

Strong electrons: Structural battery composite promises “massless” energy storage.
Automotive parking light Vehicle Tire Wheel Automotive tail & brake light

Frank Markus Writer Photographer Getty Images Photographer
Feb 3, 2022
I've covered various technologies that promise to lower the mass and/or increase the energy density of electric vehicle batteries, so my interest was keenly piqued when I recently learned of research out of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, on a concept for "massless" energy storage. Sounds even lighter than lithium air!

The first thing to know about the "structural battery" is that it is not actually weightless. Rather, as the name implies, it can be used to replace various mono-tasking structural panels in use today with structures that can also store energy. They're part of a new class of multifunctional composites called structural power composites, capable of storing electrical energy in a capacitor or battery.
Airbus aims to launch an all-electric 100-passenger regional aircraft by 2050, but replacing the 60 pounds of jet fuel per passenger with batteries would require almost 37 times as much weight. Such a plane could never get off the ground, but what if it featured a slightly thicker structural battery composite (SBC) fuselage that also functioned as its battery? Or what if those 100 seat frames on board were made of SBC?
Raw, uncoated carbon-fiber strands are great electrical conductors, and because they typically include tiny voids that can easily accept lithium ions, they function well as a battery's negative electrode. The carbon fibers do grow slightly during lithiation, however, so that expansion must be factored into any design.
Wheel Vehicle Automotive lighting Green Automotive tire


Employing electrophoretic deposition to apply a lithium-iron-phosphate/graphene-oxide coating onto carbon-fiber filaments allows them to serve as a structural cathode. Voilà! Now all that's needed is an electrolyte that can also function as a structural resin, and the Swedish gang has identified a polymer electrolyte with a cross-linking monomer that enhances the material's structural rigidity while still conducting lithium ions.
In the current research state, Chalmers' structural battery stores about 24 watt-hours per kilogram, but the team expects to hit 75 Wh/kg by 2023—still about a third the density of the best lithium-ion cells. That lower energy density means the SBC materials are less likely to experience thermal runaway, but there remains a concern that they could give off toxic fumes if they catch fire.
The strongest carbon fibers don't store energy well, so today the material has about one-third the static tensile and compressive strength of an aluminum panel of equivalent thickness. But by next year, the team expects its SBC to reach structural parity with aluminum while equaling the yield strength of steel. Chalmers professor Leif Asp says that although SBC material can be curved and shaped like other composite materials, sharp bends increase the risk of short-circuiting the cell.
Building Rectangle Wood Flooring Asphalt

A paper published by Chalmers researchers looked at the effects of removing the battery packs and incorporating structural battery composite materials into a Tesla Model S (with an 85-kWh battery) and a BMW i3. By replacing roughly 70 percent of the interior and exterior panels and 60 percent of the body structure with SBC, the mass of these cars drops by 26 and 19 percent, respectively, while the predicted New European Driving Cycle-rated range drops by 36 and 17 percent. But doubling the thickness and mass of these SBC panels brings both cars back to mass parity while boosting range by 20 percent in the Tesla and 70 percent in the BMW (not to mention adding foot room by eliminating the space-hogging battery packs).
Replacing a worn-out structural battery sounds more difficult than unbolting a battery box and swapping out cells, but then modern EV batteries seem to be lasting the life of the car. Nevertheless, SBC usage might best be restricted to easily replaceable items like seat frames, door panels, and perhaps the hood, roof, and floor panels, rather than integral structures like pillars and crash rails.
How soon might we see structural batteries enter production? Asp reckons SBC could arrive in laptops, phones, and toys within two years, with aerial drones following in 10 years and EV traction batteries sometime after that. Additional R&D is required to prove the long-term durability and capability of the SBC, not to mention issues related to scaling for manufacture, managing power and connectivity, and recycling. Predicting the cost relative to today's battery and body structure costs is also difficult because of unknowns such as the price of solid-state batteries and other potential future battery chemistries that may lend themselves to structural battery integration.
We are rooting for structural battery composites and similar two-birds/one-stone tech that helps democratize electrification.
 

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I think folks are being much too pessimistic about the long term advances in battery tech:


it's not like computers, but it's also not "almost zero". It's linear over the decades and it'll keep getting better. Folks also seem to underestimate just how much engineering and production changes can squeeze out of the existing tech with incremental improvements. Like the packaging changes from Tesla. While not revolutionary, the 4680 and structural battery packs are significant advancements.

Cost improvements are happening exponentially, which is good for widening the availability of BEVs to more customers and markets. Hydrogen is not going to succeed in automotive applications. It's worse in every way.

Solid state batteries are definitely further behind the curve, and I think folks are too optimistic they will be ready for mass production soon. Maybe in 10 years. It's really hard to say, since they are much further from ready than these papers and marketing fluff would have you believe. This is why Tesla has been focusing on new packaging and incremental advances instead of putting all the chips on double zero.

Tied into this is that we're already at some pretty solid range, and it won't take many incremental advancements to get "good enough". For many people, it's already good enough. How much more does it need ? 20% ? 40% ? It's not like range needs to improve 10x.

And folks also seem to really misunderstand that range isn't just about batteries. It's also about efficiency. I'd have though a bunch of race fanatics would appreciate how important aero is ... there's room left to make the cars use the batteries they have much more efficiently.

The BEV automotive investments are really only about ~15 years old. Before that it was for laptops. This revolution is pretty early days. Before Tesla, the actual investments in this space were truly insignificant compared to the scale of what the market provides for serious endeavors. You know, like oil and computers. Someone else can go find the raw numbers, but pretty sure a single Intel fab would dwarf the entire investment in automotive battery applications back in 2008, to say nothing of the entire computer industry or an all the oil pipelines. That's real money. We're only starting to see real money in BEV now.
 

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A quick word about batteries.
Lithium Ion battery cells are just a tad under 4 volts resting fully charged.
You get more voltage by stacking more cells on top of each other.
Power is voltage times current.
You can get the same power out of an 800 volt battery at half the current required for the same power from a 400 volt battery. (very roughly the Porsche v. Tesla situation)

Some pluses for higher voltage-
Less current to charge so smaller cables and less heat build up (which is loss). This is due to power lost in a conductor being current squared times resistance in the conductor. For a given resistance, your loss increases by the square of current increase so lowering current is low hanging fruit.
Less current during discharge so smaller cables and less heat build up.
The above allows you to uses smaller cabling thus less weight while still being more efficient.

The down side to higher voltage is the increase in insulation challenge and the decrease in available power switching ICs needed to run the motors. The higher voltage also makes for more batteries stacked on top of each other and there is a need to balance each link in the chain (each cell with the others in the cell stack) to keep them from over/under charging. LiOn fails violently on both over and under voltage.

People mention change in Tesla's batteries. The single most significant change for me has been the improvement in the ability to source current from Tesla's packs (and charge them as well). This has come from a combination of many factors but I believe the two largest contributors are the ability to remove heat from the pack and the reduction in heat generated by the cells. That second one is the result of cell development to reduce internal resistance making for more of the energy stored being delivered to the car's motors and not being lost as heat. The cars can already sustain around a 1000 hp in power draw for extended periods of time. There is a lot more left on Tesla's cell development tree which will deliver improvements in performance as well as efficiency. I'm just not sure how the performance is going to materialize as their current top of the line really need be no faster than it already is. I'm hopeful it will be the same power delivery capability in a smaller lower weight pack.
 

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I always knew gasoline was incredibly energy dense which is why it is so convenient. Now that options for moving vehicles are available, I was curious about just how effective gas really is.

The big Tesla battery is roughly 100 kWh in size. It will deliver 100k Watts of power for one hour.
Gas has 33.7 kWh of energy per gallon.
Three gallons of gas equals the energy in the biggest Tesla battery.

Internal combustion engines suck for efficiency being less than 30%. In practice, about 10 gallons of gas used to move a car down the road equals a Tesla battery. About seven of those gallons are simply being used to heat the surroundings.

It takes me about four or five minutes to put ten gallons in my Mac.
It took twenty minutes for my wife to do a 70% charge in her car at a SuperCharger on her last trip.

The above is a stark comparison as you are putting 337 kWh of energy in a car in five minutes using gas and 70 kWh in a Tesla using 20 minutes. Put differently, you get 67.4 units of energy per minute using gas and 3.5 units with a BeV. Even when you look at just the useful portion of the gas that actually makes the car go down the road, the numbers become 22.5 for gas versus 3.5 for BeV.

The above is the biggest difference that I see. With ICE, you throw away 2/3rds of what you put in and it takes much longer to put energy in the BeV. I do not travel much and thus never use SuperChargers on the road. If you did, I suspect you would be looking for either longer range (better than 400 miles) or faster charging or perhaps both to even things out. If the range was long enough, most of the charging could happen while you were sleeping and you would not be affected by transfer rate.

Like Mikey said above, my daily driver is always full in the morning, I never exceed the capacity during my normal day and thus I never look at the "gas gauge" any more. That was a pleasant change for me. Combine that with instant ridiculous amounts of always available torque and you have my idea of a perfect daily driver.
 

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I always knew gasoline was incredibly energy dense which is why it is so convenient. Now that options for moving vehicles are available, I was curious about just how effective gas really is.

The big Tesla battery is roughly 100 kWh in size. It will deliver 100k Watts of power for one hour.
Gas has 33.7 kWh of energy per gallon.
Three gallons of gas equals the energy in the biggest Tesla battery.

Internal combustion engines suck for efficiency being less than 30%. In practice, about 10 gallons of gas used to move a car down the road equals a Tesla battery. About seven of those gallons are simply being used to heat the surroundings.

It takes me about four or five minutes to put ten gallons in my Mac.
It took twenty minutes for my wife to do a 70% charge in her car at a SuperCharger on her last trip.

The above is a stark comparison as you are putting 337 kWh of energy in a car in five minutes using gas and 70 kWh in a Tesla using 20 minutes. Put differently, you get 67.4 units of energy per minute using gas and 3.5 units with a BeV. Even when you look at just the useful portion of the gas that actually makes the car go down the road, the numbers become 22.5 for gas versus 3.5 for BeV.

The above is the biggest difference that I see. With ICE, you throw away 2/3rds of what you put in and it takes much longer to put energy in the BeV. I do not travel much and thus never use SuperChargers on the road. If you did, I suspect you would be looking for either longer range (better than 400 miles) or faster charging or perhaps both to even things out. If the range was long enough, most of the charging could happen while you were sleeping and you would not be affected by transfer rate.

Like Mikey said above, my daily driver is always full in the morning, I never exceed the capacity during my normal day and thus I never look at the "gas gauge" any more. That was a pleasant change for me. Combine that with instant ridiculous amounts of always available torque and you have my idea of a perfect daily driver.
And then there could be a partial super capacitor battery hybrid in development? 😃
FunctionSupercapacitorLithium-ion (general)
Charge time1–10 seconds10–60 minutes
Cycle life1 million or 30,000h500 and higher
Cell voltage2.3 to 2.75V3.6V nominal
Specific energy (Wh/kg)5 (typical)120–240

 

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I always knew gasoline was incredibly energy dense which is why it is so convenient. Now that options for moving vehicles are available, I was curious about just how effective gas really is.

The big Tesla battery is roughly 100 kWh in size. It will deliver 100k Watts of power for one hour.
Gas has 33.7 kWh of energy per gallon.
Three gallons of gas equals the energy in the biggest Tesla battery.

Internal combustion engines suck for efficiency being less than 30%. In practice, about 10 gallons of gas used to move a car down the road equals a Tesla battery. About seven of those gallons are simply being used to heat the surroundings.

It takes me about four or five minutes to put ten gallons in my Mac.
It took twenty minutes for my wife to do a 70% charge in her car at a SuperCharger on her last trip.

The above is a stark comparison as you are putting 337 kWh of energy in a car in five minutes using gas and 70 kWh in a Tesla using 20 minutes. Put differently, you get 67.4 units of energy per minute using gas and 3.5 units with a BeV. Even when you look at just the useful portion of the gas that actually makes the car go down the road, the numbers become 22.5 for gas versus 3.5 for BeV.

The above is the biggest difference that I see. With ICE, you throw away 2/3rds of what you put in and it takes much longer to put energy in the BeV. I do not travel much and thus never use SuperChargers on the road. If you did, I suspect you would be looking for either longer range (better than 400 miles) or faster charging or perhaps both to even things out. If the range was long enough, most of the charging could happen while you were sleeping and you would not be affected by transfer rate.

Like Mikey said above, my daily driver is always full in the morning, I never exceed the capacity during my normal day and thus I never look at the "gas gauge" any more. That was a pleasant change for me. Combine that with instant ridiculous amounts of always available torque and you have my idea of a perfect daily driver.
The difference is that 10 gallons is likely to get you 250miles of range for five minutes of fill up. The 70kwh 20 minute fill up gets you maybe around 200miles? I think it won't take long to bridge that gap though as battery tech improves. There is a decent chance in 10 years you'll be able to get the same 250-300 mile charge in about 10 minutes. Maybe quicker. And if say a significant portion of the public charges at home, say 50%, that should reduce the need for refills at least in the suburban areas.
 

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you think the travelling speed will increase when we eventually go to FSD? interesting i would have assumed will travel slower, EV range, pollution etc being the main reasons.
yes theoretically, if all cars were using FSD and communicated with each other, we could travel on highways at 150mph, in massive trains, with cars 1 yard behind each other... dont expect that to happen in my life time though
i do expect traveling speeds to be adjusted once humans are cut out. There are a ton of possibilities to improve, including no vision restrictions. The cars ahead of you can relay what they see, road condition wise. And no distracted driving, or refusal to slow down for bad conditions. Always lane changing and merging properly and in an orderly fashion without slowing down.

imagine every driver was in the top 1%, never got tired, never got distracted, and had infinite vision even through obstacles. Even humans could drive a lot faster on average that way.
 

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i do expect traveling speeds to be adjusted once humans are cut out. There are a ton of possibilities to improve, including no vision restrictions. The cars ahead of you can relay what they see, road condition wise. And no distracted driving, or refusal to slow down for bad conditions. Always lane changing and merging properly and in an orderly fashion without slowing down.

imagine every driver was in the top 1%, never got tired, never got distracted, and had infinite vision even through obstacles. Even humans could drive a lot faster on average that way.
There's also the possibility of removing / not being subject to traffic lights,
 

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i do expect traveling speeds to be adjusted once humans are cut out. There are a ton of possibilities to improve, including no vision restrictions. The cars ahead of you can relay what they see, road condition wise. And no distracted driving, or refusal to slow down for bad conditions. Always lane changing and merging properly and in an orderly fashion without slowing down.

imagine every driver was in the top 1%, never got tired, never got distracted, and had infinite vision even through obstacles. Even humans could drive a lot faster on average that way.
I think this expectation is based on a faulty premise. You think that there is some amount of safety that is so good that once you achieve it, you'll be able to go faster. But the opposite is true - there can never be enough safety and even a single life lost is one too many. In the 60s we had cars that were 1/10th as safe as the cars we drive now, passively, actively, whichever way you cut it, and the amount of road fatalities was 5x of what it is today. And yet, were people scared to drive their cars? Did they pray to make it through the day every time they got into their car in the morning? No. They just got on with their business without a second thought. So clearly, whatever the amount of road fatalities was, it was deemed acceptable enough. If then - if safety wasn't the ever present and all overriding religious force and instead we had a balancing act between safety and freedom - you would imagine that as we went forward and cars were starting to become safer and safer, we simply kept the amount of deaths the same and started to increase or remove speed limits, right?

Well, clearly wrong. Instead how it works is that once you get the fatalities lower, it becomes the new norm - and the new norm is never good enough so the pressure is always to increase the safety further. We now drive cars that are massively safer and more capable, the amount of fatalities is much lower and yet the speed limits are still there, pretty much the same, or even worse than in the 60s! It's gonna be the same with self-driving cars. No matter how safe you make them there is always gonna be some percentage of things going wrong, either from software bugs, mechanical failures, a deer suddenly jumping in front of you, aquaplaning, ice, some other weird shit, who knows. In any case, there will be room for improvement, so there is gonna be no going faster, no no. In fact, once you get to that point, the only way to reduce the fatalities even further will be to lower the speed. That's what's gonna actually happen, you romantic dreamer you :).
 

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Your faith in human nature is enthusiastic but misplaced. When the choice comes between greater efficiency in transportation by adjusting speeds and driving patterns or spending billions to build new larger road, people will choose the money over the lives. Every. Time.

Have you seen traffic around LA or NY ? If you told them that all traffic jams could be eliminated, for a 1:ten million chance they become a human sacrifice, they will absolutely choose human sacrifices.
 
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