Andrew Yang, the Asian American entrepreneur, and philanthropist, probably won’t become president if the polls are any indication. However, he cannot be faulted for failing to engage in some outside the (liberal Democratic) box thinking.
For one thing, he thinks that nuclear power should be part of a solution to climate change, something rejected by better-known candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
However, he also wants to take away your private automobiles. Cars, after all, clog the roadways and belch pollution, including greenhouse gasses.
According to Newsmax, Yang was at an MSNBC sponsored climate forum when he opened his mind about how we might get around in the year 2050.
Yang replied, “Well, I mentioned before that we might not own our own cars. Our current car ownership and usage model is really inefficient and bad for the environment.”
“What we’re really selling is not the car, it’s mobility,” he explained. “So, if you have mobility that’s then tied into a much more, if you had like, for example, this constant roving fleet of electric cars that you would just order up, then you could diminish the impact of ground transportation on our environment very, very quickly.”
Yang’s version of the Green New Deal would cost $5 trillion, which is less than a third of what Bernie Sanders’ version would cost. One of the features is compelling all motor vehicles to be zero emissions by 2030.
Some might find the future that Yang describes to be a bit scary. It would be bad enough that Beto O’Rourke wants to take away our guns, now this fellow
Yang wants to take away the family SUV. However, companies such as Uber and Google have already been working on the concept for the past several years.
In the future, when you want to go to work or out on the town, instead of hopping in the family car and pulling out of the driveway, you would summon a driverless car with an app on your smartphone, much like you would call for an Uber or Lyft today.
However, instead of being picked up by someone making a few extra bucks as a part-timer in their personal vehicle, a driverless, probably electric car will pull up at the curb, let you get in and buckle up, and then take you to where you want to go, probably on a smart road designed to facilitate traffic control and navigation.
The advantages of such an arrangement are beguiling. Private ownership of motor vehicles has been liberating, but also burdensome. You have to pay for the car, its insurance, maintenance, and taxes.
In the world in which people some cars as needed, all of those burdens would be carried by the rideshare company that provides the driverless vehicle. You can turn your garage into a workshop or a storage unit.
Naturally, a lot of things have to happen before Andrew Yang’s vision of Electric, Driverless, Rideshare Vehicles for All can happen.
Business Insider suggests that the problems of creating a totally autonomous vehicle that can go anywhere that a human driver behind the wheel can go have proven to be easier said than done.
Poorly maintained roads, inclement weather, and traffic rules combine to make driving by a robot to be a real challenge. We’ll get there, but just not next year.
Newt Gingrich suggested in an article in the Hill that the real barrier to Yang’s vision of a driverless car future will be government regulation. A century of traffic laws has evolved for vehicles with a human at the wheel. Governments and regulators are having to play catchup.
Even rideshare cars with a human at the wheel are giving politicians opportunities to mess things up. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently placed a cap on rideshare cars that can operate within the city.
One way of establishing the cap has been to limit the availability of the cars in “low trafficked areas.” The result has been to deny lower-income New Yorkers access to rideshare, something that they have grown to rely on.
Gingrich wrote his piece before the rise of Andrew Yang. However, one suspects that he would agree that over government regulation like de Blasio’s is just one example of what he meant. Perhaps some enterprising journalist will ask Mr. Yang what he thinks.