Pez Machines delivering self-driving cars, and other musings

This is the third instalment in a series of posts about transport in the future. The previous ones are:

  1. What does the future hold? [Transport]
  2. Thinking aloud: Back to the Future [of Transport]

I have no idea how many I’ll write on this subject – I’m still digesting comments, accumulating links and reading material, so there may be a few more yet.

More about self-driving cars

So far, I’ve unconsciously been thinking of UK and Europe, but there are all sorts of considerations when you look beyond that.

There are also practicalities like storage for self-driving vehicles when they’re not being used.

50 implications

Bromford Lab kindly shared my earlier posts on Twitter. When I had a look back through their timeline, I realised they had already shared some cracking articles. For example:

Wow, what a list! Compiled by Geoff Nesnow, there are quite a few familiar ones, but a load more which tweaked my imagination. For instance, consider the potential impact of driverless cars on traffic policing (7), auto insurance (8), and traffic lights (9).

The Luggage

Another one on Geoff’s list which really made me think was number 15 :

There will be many new innovations in luggage and bags as people no longer keep stuff in cars and loading and unloading packages from vehicles becomes much more automated. The traditional trunk size and shape will change. Trailers or other similar detachable devices will become much more commonplace to add storage space to vehicles

I’m sure it’s not what Geoff had in mind, but for some reason it made me think of Thunderbird 2.

I confess, I’m a Thunderbirds fan, and reckon it was ahead of its time in many ways. However, I suspect that, instead of one large pod, there will be many smaller pods, more akin to shipping containers, but which have their own power, and can fly…

Shopping channel

The last one on Geoff’s list I’ll specifically mention is number 34:

Local transport of nearly everything will become ubiquitous and cheap — food, everything in your local stores. Drones will likely be integrated into vehicle designs to deal with “last few feet” on pickup and delivery. Perhaps this will accelerate the reduction of traditional retail stores.



I rather hope small retailers take the initiative here – some have been remarkably prescient and resilient.

I confess, I’ve gratuitously included two photos* of my great grandfather, James Sinclair, who was a retailer in Orkney early in the 20th Century. He had a shop with premises, and also provided a delivery service, initially horse-drawn, and then deploying new-fangled automotive technology. If you’re interested, there are many fascinating images on the fascinating Orkney Image Library web site.

I can’t help but wonder what he might have made of this:

On the high seas

Back to shipping, this is another great share from Bromford Labs:

This article, written by Ben Schiller for Fast Company explores the implications of autonomous vehicles on the high seas.


Then there’s the recent news: Uber loses right to classify UK drivers as self-employed.

A major win for self-employed drivers – right?

But for how long, given Uber’s aspirations:

Pez machines

That’s about it for this post. I guess I better also explain that the ridiculous title for this post came out of a Twitter conversation with Annemarie of Common Futures. Annemarie made a serious point, to which I gave a silly reply.

Ok, not an entirely serious suggestion, but the idea of vehicles stored and distributed underground may not be entirely out of the question. Geoffrey Hoyle was thinking about that one back in 1972 in his remarkable book 2010: Living in the Future (link is to a BBC article about the book)20161028_134506

screenshot-2016-10-29-17-34-17Photo credits

By Mark Braggins

Walking, usually with my two ex-racing greyhounds. Interested in lots of stuff. Work: Business Development and Research at Drawnalism