May 2008

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Comments

James Morris

This idea is so much like mine that it's spooky. See www.cs.cmu.edu/~jhm/SafeRide.pdf.

I propose we create an international association (called the Quixote Club?) to promote this idea.

C. L. Hanson

True, this hi-tech hitch-hiking clears up the main problem with regular hitch-hiking: the safety factor. The main reason to avoid hitch-hiking (or giving rides to strangers) is because you don't know if the other person is planning to rob, rape, and/or kill you. With this system, if everyone is registered and they know that Bob picked up Joe, then Bob can hardly kill Joe without expecting he'll be caught.

On the other hand, the invasion of privacy problem is very real. If everyone is using this system, then that means there's a big database out there that keeps track of essentially where everyone is at all times. That is not at all a minor issue. We're living in an age in which private companies share such information with governments without hesitation, and governments (well at least one anyway) feel that suspecting someone of being an "enemy combattant" is sufficient justification for holding people without trial and torturing them.

The real solution (as others have suggested) is effective and efficient public transportation.

jyoti

check out www.mykoolpool.com

Dave

Why not utilize the vehicles we are already paying for? The police cars drive all over and they are mostly empty.

energy

In Europe there is currently an wind energy revolution going on.
Germany has increased its use of wind energy in 2006 by 26%!
This is a huge example that deserves following by other nations.

Manu Sharma

Scott Adams Stole My Carpool Idea! https://tinyurl.com/2lgoj8

=)

Armand rousso

I repeat I would advise everybody to take less Planes.
Armand Rousso

Armand rousso

I would advise everybody to take less Planes.
Armand Rousso

Fernando

I know this might be somewhat late, but Facebook just introduced a 'Carpool' option which describes a somewhat toned down version of your 'uber idea'.

They beat ya to it =)

Scott Thong

Three words: Bussard Fusion Reactor.

https://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/mr-fusion.html

Where's the funding for it? We could solve the energy crisis, alleged anthropogenic global warming, pollution and oil-sponsored terrorism in a decade. Just 202 million for an energy revolution, small change to the big companies.

Julien Lamarche

There are three criterias to find a match:
1. Proximity in time
2. Proximity in space (start point/destination/route)
3. Establish trust between the "hitchhiker" and the "driver"

I didn't read the comments yet, but your solution does not address #3.

Thomas

You won't believe it, but the idea of "Computer aided hitch-hiking" just went ten years old. Find it here https://www.pege.org/cahh/ and look for the other stuff this inventor came up with!

Philip

I just wish more people would hitchhike. It's sad that it isn't well thought of to pick up hitchhikers. I still do and to the few people who regularly hitchhike, it's not any big deal, just a good cheap way to get somewhere. Most are not that dirty or smelly, or anything wrong with them except an adventureous attitude. And even if they have been on the road a while and could use some cleaning up, it's really not that bad and worth it for the interesting conversation and/or sense of helping someone out. Please hitchhike! It's fun, and good! But don't be some kind of pervert, that's bad. And if you are then don't pick up hitchhikers!

There, that should do it.

In case anyone reads this far, I don't have a weblog, so here's my idea for reducing energy consumption: Replace every stop sign in the world with a yield sign. Who ever decided that your car needs to be stopped for you to decide whether the way is clear? What is the magical attribute of coming to a stop, that makes it safer than looking around while you are still moving, which everyone ought to be doing anyway? I've seen so many stop signs at an intersection where you can see for miles whether anyone is coming. And if it's a blind intersection, can't people figure that out? Someone calculate all the energy used getting our big cars going again after stopping, compared to, say, not stopping. Tricky calculation, but I bet it would be similar impact to changing all the SUVs to Golfs. And if you say that the energy required to change all the signs is significant, then just change the law about stop signs. And red lights... try this: "Stop at a stop sign or red light, unless there is no reason to." I think the answer to a lot of problems is to force people to use common sense (reason) instead of trying to rein them in with a lot of silly rules. If you don't use it, you lose it (common sense), and it has obviously been happening, at an accelerating rate. It's ok if people can't reason fast enough to use the skill for driving--they can slow down a bit until they get better at it.

While I'm at it, to reduce energy consumption in this country of Oosah, let us drive Polos and Lupos. A diesel Lupo gets like 80 or 90 mpg. Plus it has a better name than any other car. And also, why not recycle the packing peanuts (missing matter)?

By the way, please everyone understand and pass the word around that GPS satellites transmit only. I think most people know this but some don't. The consumer GPS device recieves only, figuring out where it's at from the info it gets from the satellites. The satellites don't know or care how many devices use the signal they are transmitting. A phone or some fancy locating device that knows its position on the Earth from GPS can then broadcast it's position through radio or cell network or some other system, but that has nothing to do with GPS. Having some kind of GPS device does NOT tell anyone or anything where you are, unless it is designed for that like Scott's idea, or that OnStar system or something.

Part of my point is that using a hypothetical GPS phone system this way is no more an invasion of privacy than calling someone and telling them where you are. Just a little more accurate.

I don't have a GPS or internet phone, and I haven't looked into the technology, but if it is normal for a cell phone to send out it's location through the cell network, other than for some specific reason like Scott's idea, then I'm going to go live outside the asylum like Wonko the Sane in the Other Adams books.

Actually, thinking about that OnStar system makes me want to do that anyway. Almost anything we design these days for safety has that effect on me. Why don't people try just not crashing? Plenty of people drive their whole lives without ever running into anything. It's not luck, it's paying attention and using sense. Please everyone pay attention when driving. But then, I'm the guy that thinks stop signs are stupid.

I realize I typed a lot. Sorry about that. I'm not worried about whether anyone ever reads it. Thanks for all the laughs Scott Adams. You are one funny guy. And I like your chair that you made.

GentleGiant

The system is already in place in Pune, India. I myself have got a lift from 4 different people to travel a distance of about 16 miles.
Starting from home, I get a lift from the first person. I travel with him till the point that our paths are same. Then I do the same the next time. Till I reach my destination. Wait time between each ranging from 1-5 minutes. No cell phones, no GPS, no threat detecting mechanism but just my good ol thumb.
And this is just one of the many instances that I have used this system. It's like a norm.
And I return the favour as many times as possible. So the system thrives.
Any comments?

@Rob

Outside of California, who recycles?

Bad people with guns just love the idea. "The purse/wallet stays but you can get out."

What would your list of acceptable drivers say about someone?

Amit

A great idea!!! I wonder if your engineer's mind spoke out the idea :)
Anyways you can try out your chances with Google or blackberry. Though i do fear cabbie drivers might oppose your humble idea :D

K. FLOYD

Already being done.

ZipCar.com
One zip car replaces 20 personal automobiles

Dixon

When did hitchhiking get such a bad name? In Yellowstone that's just the way everyone gets around. When I go kayaking people hitch from the takeout to the putin in a wetsuit and still get rides. I think if more normal people started hitching it would loose the stigma and we could save some of the unnecessary side effects of driving (like war).

I'd go so far as to say anyone driving a Hummer that doesn't pick up hitchhikers should be fined. Well, they should be fined anyway.

Chrisgiraffe's alter ego

What you suggest has already been tried (sans the technology) and failed. Your idea amounts to hi-tech hitchiking. If you take away the technology you will quickly see how and why the idea didn't work in America (i.e. just rent one of those "hitchhiker" movies where the trusting couple is sawed in half for giving a bum a ride).

Too bad the days of societal trust and punishing those who might saw a trusting couple in half have gone by the wayside.

Peeyush Pallav

So,

rapists, serial murderers, and identity stealers will have a field day lifting unsuspecting people to less than desired destinations.

And,

a car can accomodate 4 people. Given systemic ineeficiencies, you only reduce vehicular energy consumption by two thirds.

Finally,

the solution will not occur to us, till the fire literally reaches our arse.

Sanket

I guess ebay acquired Skype for doing the same in terms of service sector.
There is however one loophole to the theory. Lesser number of vehicles would mean less number of people who travel to the destination you want to travel. So in the end, this theory is somewhat of hi-tech Googled public transport.

develin

Hey, that is the first "idea" that sounds not only reasonable but also possible. Sounds like an interesting mash up idea.... off to the drawing board.

spike17

How, exactly, does your solution solve the energy crisis? Cars are still being driven, and as long as new drivers are being added at a rate faster than old drivers are dying off, the best you can do is perhaps slow down the per capita rate of energy consumption, which doesn't solve the problem. The only way you can solve the energy crisis without a revolutionary change of fuel is to eliminate the automobile driver.

Like it or not, your solution actually implies a final solution for undesirable drivers (which, I'm just guessing here, but for you, might be anyone with more than a 47 second commute to work). Am I far off?

Olivierr

I happen to work in the space sector, in Europe (where we will eventually be able to set up our own GPS - named Galileo - 10 years after the everybody else in the world). Anyway, as the craze for geo-localized services is only at its beginning, I would strongly suggest to elaborate the idea a little bit more and get a patent asap...

leaf

actually, i think the idea has merit. i would be up for it. like the internet version of hitchhiking, with so many added benefits that it would be a shame to overlook it - well done.

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