NPR logo In the Year 2000: A Look at Yesterday's Future

The Dagobah System

In the Year 2000: A Look at Yesterday's Future

For my contribution to the Most today, I talked about an article in today's New York Times science section about driverless cars. The article points out some of the less obvious benefits of the technology, including the following:

When a freeway filled with human drivers is operating at full capacity...the cars actually occupy less than 10 percent of the road's surface area. The rest is empty space between cars. Smart cars could be grouped more closely together, doubling or tripling the road's capacity, as engineers have demonstrated by running a platoon of driverless Buicks, spaced just 15 feet apart, at 65 m.p.h. down Interstate 15 near San Diego.

But the best thing about this article is that it turned me on to hilarious video content. (Why read things when you can look at talking pictures instead?) The piece references other times in history when we've been told that driverless cars are just around the technological bend, including at the 1939 World's Fair. General Motors had a "Futurama" exhibit that looked ahead, way ahead, all the way to the year 1960. It's pretty classic...

Part One

Part Two

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