PodcastSelf-Driving Cars

RSG031: Zack Kanter On Why Self-Driving Cars Are Coming Faster Than You Think

By December 14, 2015November 5th, 201616 Comments


    We all know about Uber’s love for self-driving cars but today I bring on an expert from the automotive industry and someone who’s spent a lot of time researching and thinking about autonomous cars.  On the podcast, we cover everything from why companies like Uber will be at the forefront of the self-driving car revolution to what the future holds for personal vehicles.  Spoiler alert, it’s not good for the latter.

    RSG031: Zack Kanter On Why Self-Driving Cars Are Coming Faster Than You Think

    RSG031: Zack Kanter On Why Self-Driving Cars Are Coming Faster Than You Think

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here


    Interview with Zack Kanter

    • CEO of Pro Forge and serial entrepreneur, futurist
    • Wrote article on how Uber’s self-driving cars will destroy jobs by 2025
    • Most people look at autonomous cars as a far-off, distant event
    • While true to a degree, Zack thinks self-driving cars are coming a lot sooner than anticipated
    • Won’t be regular people buying self-driving cars, but rather companies like Uber and fleet owners
    • Gave a TED talk on self-driving cars

    What’s Changed?

    • Easy to predict things that won’t happen than what things will happen
    • Tesla released its self-driving feature since the article published
    • Cars with steering wheels and cars without – societal shifts won’t happen until the steering wheel is removed
    • Separate approaches between Tesla and Google
    • Benefit for Uber will be when cars are 100% self-driving
    • Google has more capital to spend and make driverless car possible

    Acceptance of Self-Driving Cars

    • Not inconceivable for a robot to be a better driver than the average person
    • However, safety might not be the greatest motivator for people to get a self-driving car
    • Economic incentive is the best reason for self-driving cars
    • Safety and productivity are secondary incentives
    • Cars already taking away the ability to respond to disasters from humans

    Dilemmas Associated with Self-Driving Cars

    • Do cars need to be programmed to kill?
    • Difficult to determine if cars should have the ability to choose who gets hurt in an accident, or if that can be left to drivers to take over themselves
    • Those decisions aren’t being made right now – manufacturers are protecting the driver/occupant

    Uber’s Participation in the Self-Driving Car Revolution

    • Could be Uber that leads the revolution, or a new company we haven’t even thought of
    • Uber controls the end-user, which puts it in a better position than most companies
    • Uber’s passenger experience is better, but reduced friction also makes the experience better as well
    • Behind the scenes, many people are likely working on this topic, but Uber is one of the best-positioned to take advantage of self-driving cars
    • Doesn’t mean that other companies (Hertz, etc.) wouldn’t take advantage of this technology

    Business Model Shift

    • Is this going to completely change Uber’s business model?
    • Uber doesn’t currently hold assets
    • Uber will become a fleet owner, if they decide to get into this business
    • Self-driving cars are easier to maintain than non-self-driving cars

    Opportunities with Self-Driving Cars

    • Uber still going to need drivers, even if they’re pursuing driverless cars
    • Self-driving cars are an economic benefit to Uber – no drivers, no people to sue, no people to retire
    • People spend $9,000 a year to own and operate their cars – with Uber and other rideshares, people are freed up to not own a car
    • Frees up extra spending money, which could drive the economy in other ways

    The Future of Cars

    • In 10 years, hard to imagine all the changes to come
    • Over 50% of LA is dedicated to parking (estimated)
    • Real estate will look different – no parking garages, on-street parking
    • Quieter flow of traffic
    • Basically, it will be pretty cool – sounds utopian
    • Contact Zack on Twitter


    • Technology always changing
    • Even if you don’t agree with self-driving cars, it’s likely on its way and you can embrace this
    • New technology and new opportunities will be created with self-driving cars
    • As more people free up money they previously spent maintaining cars, there will be new opportunities for entrepreneurs to market to this new capital
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    • Check out the full transcript here
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    Show Notes

    Stride Health

    This episode was sponsored by Stride Health, they’re a company that connects self employed workers with health coverage and health care for free! And even if you already have health insurance, once you sign up, you’ll get access to a personal advisor who you can call to get help with all your health care decisions and more.  Sign up here to get free access today!

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here

    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.