Re: The Disabled, Sitting at Home
Wow, talk about making assumptions... Speaking as a blind person with a disabled wife, let me debunk this poster's condescending, prejudiced and incorrect guesses.
Try to get a taxi at rush hour, or in the rain. It can take hours, longer if you need an accessible taxi that will take a wheelchair. Try to get a taxi out in the 'burbs, or at night. It can take an hour. It can also take 2 minutes, so you have basically to sit on the couch with your coat on waiting for the thing to arrive. To make a long story short, if taxis were anywhere near comparable to the convenience of having a personal car, then this poster and everybody else would be riding in taxis.
Not to mention that taxis are far more expensive than owning a cra on a mile-per-mile basis. Try to afford a taxi if you work as a low-wage clerk or greeter. Basically you can't accept such work because you can't afford to *go* to work. So the disabled sit at home on the government dole, and the economy does without their productive labor.
Disabled people are stuck today with a menu of unpaletable transportation choices that would be completely unacceptable if there was anything they could do about it. Yes, it's absolutely true that disabled people sit at home being depressed, because the expense and hassle of getting out in the world is so great that only grim necessity overcomes it. That's why the disabled are so invisible. Yeah, downtown you see a passle of disabled-and-homeless folks on the sidewalk. That's because they can't go anywhere!!!
A driverless car would cut an hour off my commute each way (versus the bus). Wow, two hours a day. Probably doesn't seem important to temporarily-able-bodied people, because they already have those hours. Bet you'd miss 'em if they were taken away though. A driverless car would let my wife and I go to a restraunt other than the one mediocre place within rolling distance of home, without having to plan our outing three days in advance. It would cut the cost considerably too. We could choose to live in the suburbs in inexpensive housing, instead of in the city where housing is expensive but transport options are better. We could even take our kids on vacation, which you can't do in a taxi at all. Woo hoo!
It's hard to overstate the convenience of having a car in a world that caters to people with cars. Having this choice would be worth a lot of money, so even if driverless cars were expensive compared to conventional cars, I'd find the money somewhere.
It turns out that software engineer is a job you can do if you are blind or wheelchair-bound. I'd bet big money that the googlers have plenty of input from disabled people.