FDXmech, I'm honored that you feel my posts are interesting, and I take no offense at your statements. Except this one:
I suggest you become a bit more technically and operationally fluent before making these rash assumptions.
Ouch. Well, you may know, that I am an engineer. I would consider myself pretty technically fluent.
How do planes get from A to B today? (After takeoff, and before landing.) With the aid of an autopilot. Think about a long flight to somewhere where there aren't many other planes. I'm talking South America to Australia. No real nasty ATC to deal with, so the pilot puts the plane in the air, lets the nav take it up and out near the south pole, then back north towards Oz. Nearing Sydney, the pilot listens in on the radio and receives directions from the controller so he fits into the landing pattern, and ultimately is set up to land the jet.
So, the cruise is all handled by the autopilot, right? So, that part's out of the way. Now, how about that insertion into the pattern. Is there any real reason why that contoller has to be human? Not really. make it a computer that looks at where all the planes are, and then tells each plane where to go. It sends some electronic signal that gets picked up by the plane's autopilot, and the autopilot adjusts the attitude and points the plane on its new trajectory. The plane gets close in, lines up, and autolands.
From what I understand, not being a pilot, there is currently no such thing as auto-takeoff, just autoland. (Because takeoffs are actually more challenging than landings? Aaron?) However, I can't imagine our not being able to tackle that problem given 10-15 years. And, then we have fully automated flights from takeoff to landing.
Would I fly on one? Hmm... Now, that's another story. I wouldn't be the first.
The type of engineering I do is computer engineering, specifically artificial intelligence, at least today. Computers aren't perfect, and weird things happen sometimes when you thought
you had something bug free...
Now, back to the autocar and autoroads for a second. Putting beacons (I assume that's what you meant) in the road would certainly make the problem much easier. However, that is an impossibility. Maybe possible on the major highways and biways that connect cities out on open road, but not on all roads. The cost of putting the beacons in the road is one thing. The cost of maintaining them is... well, I wouldn't want to pay it. There are many places in this country where they can't even put reflectors in the road because of the maintenance cost. Then, on top of that, the beacons won't tell you where the other traffic is. If the road is straight (which they aren't in Joisey
) the problem gets pretty easy with radar, but once the roads get curvy or hilly, range finding gets near impossible. Use transponders so the cars can talk to each other? That would work, but it won't help you when you're about to hit a deer.