Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Uber's Robotics Plans Could Use Advice From SF Authors

Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick has been quoted as saying "We're at the very beginning stages of becoming a robotics company." Is this a kind of backstory for how the various robotic taxi companies in science fiction got their start?

Kalanick says:


(Uber uses traffic advertising drones in Mexico)

"These cars, when they go into self-driving, you're now starting to become a robotics company so I think we're at the very beginning stages of becoming a robotics company," Kalanick said. "We have hundreds of of scientists working on all parts of robotics, self-driving being number one."

Kalanick also confirmed that the company is currently testing a few of its self-driving cars in the streets of San Francisco, though they are focused on mapping, rather than picking up passengers as those in Pittsburgh do.

"As we move towards the future, autonomy is a pretty critical thing for us — it's existential," he said, though he was quick to point out that the technology wouldn't be ready to replace human drivers entirely for quite awhile.

Science fiction writers have approached the idea of the autonomous cab company in different ways. Philip K. Dick liked the idea of robotic cab drivers (as in A Present for Pat, 1952) or the robot taxi (from Solar Lottery, 1955).

Robert Heinlein wrote about autocabs in Between Planets (1951). The sf Grandmaster had some advice for Uber on how to deal with scofflaw passengers:

...when he tried to get out the door would not open. This reminded him that he must first pay the fare shown in the meter.. He was expecting disconsolately to be carted by the machine off to the nearest police station when he was rescued...

Charles Stross describes a future problem in his excellent 2007 novel Halting State. In the novel, fleets of driverless drones trade of between being remotely piloted and autonomous on highways. However, watch out for hijackings!

Guoanbu assassins have used this technique in the past: They hijack a taxi or car, drive it to a sufficiently isolated location, and crash it... [Passengers] must break out of the taxi while it is stationary at traffic lights, or break into the driver's compartment and disable it..."

See Tin Cabby from Cities in Flight [1957], the autocab from Between Planets [1951] and the autonomic cab from The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch [1964].

There have been real-life attempts to create automated taxis prior to the current era of autonomous cars; see ULTra - driverless automatic taxi and the RobuCAB Robotic Taxi.

Via Mashable.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/5/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.' - Robert Heinlein, 1956.

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...' - Clarence Edward Heller, 1930.

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.' Nat Schachter and Al Zagat, 1931.

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1937.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

Pixy Flying Selfie Drone From Snap
'It hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.'

Pleasure Model Replicants Now Available
'Want a life-companion... sir, I can get you up any style you want.'

Robot Covered In Living Human Skin
'Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there or what?'

Dall-E 2 Creates Art To Order
'Something different,' she said. 'Maybe a combined Miro and Goya.'

SpaceX Rocket Quick Reaction Force
'... the ship went into free flight, arching in a high parabola.'

Do AIs Create Their Own Language?
'the Mentanicals have begun to acquire a faculty not primarily given them by their inventors — the faculty of speech...'

Vortex Rings Of Light
'He pressed the release button, and from the inch-wide muzzle a stream of blue-glowing rings sprang...'

Google Engineer Convinced LaMDA Chatbot Is Sentient, Is Sent Home
'Whether we are based on carbon or silicon should make no difference.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.