Google clearly has too much cash around, as they are wasting it here. Why else would they fund work by Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun to develop

a sort of “car-train” effect on a highway that would pack the highways with more cars

Fantastic. Lot’s of sensors and technology. Look, guys, every time room is made for more cars, such as by widening highways, more cars appear! You want a piece of that? Did Thrun grow up watching the Jetsons over much?

Now, make no mistake, Thrun must be a pretty good salesman, which is part and parcel of getting grant money at a place like Stanford. So, we can’t fault him. It’s his job to push his lab, and fill his own coffers, no doubt, as he’s also apparently a Google employee.

Nevertheless, the difficult, non-linear work remains: creating land-use planning and growth requirements tied to appropriate public transportation networks. Google, and we, would be better of funding sociologists and political types who can help us get through the maze of overlapping jurisdictions and vested interests that impede this goal. It’s not difficult to understand this necessity, but it’s a heck of a lot more difficult than building smart roads we can’t afford and which will never get built. (Except perhaps a demonstration run between San Francisco and Mountain View. Fun, fun!)


ADVERTISEMENT