Did you just say what I think you said? Essentially "peak oil is never going to happen?" That's the dumbest damned thing I have ever heard. Where exactly do you think it comes from? God makes it and puts it in the ground for good little Texans to find?
There may be debate on the WHEN peak oil will happen, (quite a few believe we have already hit it,) but it is 100% inevitable. Given that, it makes more sense to me to invest in methods of propelling our cars without requiring portable chemical fuels. “The Grid” isn’t a magical source of energy, but there is a damned sight more coal than there is Oil left, and if we really get desperate there is always solar, wind and even wood burning..
If, as a society, we are going to invest in essentially ripping up our transportation infrastructure to install a bunch of sensors, guides, beacons and other goodies to allow vehicles to drive autonomously, we should seriously consider installing some sort of track system similar to light rail transit by which vehicles can continuously draw energy from the grid while driving.
There has to be a way to accomplish this without requiring either rails or overhead power lines. Preferably one that isn’t as ridiculously inefficient as inductive charging. I can think of a few ideas right off the top of my head, though they would need refinement. IF we start installing that sort of infrastructure now, alongside the beacons and sensors and whatnot, then I think we will be far further along preparing for the future than simply believing God Provideth Our Oil (or other such abiogenic nonsense) and pretending the looming energy crisis doesn’t exist.
What matters is collectively coming to a few agreements.
First: there is a looming energy crisis; this involves telling the oil companies to shut the fuck up and stay out of the negotiations for once.
Second: Even if the energy crisis is a ways off, as a society we can’t afford to keep burning our precious fossil fuels for personal transport. We need those hydrocarbons for plastics and other petrochemical industries we don’t have the technology to replace with alternates yet.
Third: We need to agree on standards. Standards for energy transfer to vehicles, standards for the beacons and sensors required to have pilotless aircraft, driverless cars and all other such things. There are some problems that transcend national borders, and the petty bickering is delaying the research and implementation which will do nothing but drive up the TCO.
Lastly: We need to come up with a way to address privacy concerns inherent in a society where all movement by all citizens is tracked. If your driverless car is responding to beacons on the road and has an array of sensors of it’s on, it is only a matter of time before someone starts recording the information collected and transmitting it centrally. We need to look at these issues BEFORE they become a problem, and legislate accordingly. (Otherwise you get some uppity island government telling everyone their privacy laws are invalid and spying on all of its citizens even whilst it is being sued and sanctioned for its misdeeds. Ooops…)
I am sorry, but when it comes to something as important to the lives of so many as personal transportation, the issues aren’t simple. They are complex and integrated into issues from the personal to the international. As a global society we need to grow the fuck up, stop it will the selfish reactionary bullshit and start actually PLANNING for the future.
Be PROactive rather than REactive; if you head of as many problems as you can before they arrive, that leaves you more time and resources to deal with the ones you didn’t expect and couldn’t have anticipated.
It’s a bloody shame that personal greed is always standing in the way. Someone stop the world: I want off.