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Get Ready For Driverless Cars, Queensland: Baxter

Source: Uber Elevate

Autonomous

Get Ready For Driverless Cars, Queensland: Baxter

Co-presenter of the Australian innovation and invention program Shark Tank, Steve Baxter, has told an audience at Brisbane’s Myriad Festival that driverless cars are coming, so people better get used to the idea.

According to Baxter, who is Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, flying cars will be a reality and in Australia, this could be within the decade.

Baxter recently attended the Uber Elevate Summit where it was announced that Uber’s partnership with NASA would be extended, with a view to exploring and developing urban air mobility (UAM) technologies needed for safe, integrated air taxi transport.

“Get over it, it’s happening,” he told the Myriad audience.

“The question is, do we have them one year after LA or 10 years after LA.

“How long does it take to remove our head from our ass and get in and do this, stop building roads and start getting more flexible and better cities.”

While the systems required for integration of passenger taxis into low altitude airspace is one hurdle to be jumped before this future becomes reality, Baxter also says convincing the public of this new form of transport’s safety is another.

“The hard part is convincing people we will have 10,000 of these things flying above our heads and less of us will die in transport because of it,” he said.

With a recent survey showing that in the USA, trust in autonomous vehicles has slipped tremendously, it’s one that could take some time.

How that could happen is through huge savings in commute time, and increased commuter safety. VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) taxis are able to travel more or less in a straight line at speeds of up to 300km/h, and advancements in LiDAR and AI technology will hopefully decrease the chance of crashes such as we see on roads today.

'These are literally an upscale drone' - Steve Baxter, Queensland Chief Entrepreneur @sbxr Click To Tweet

“You will put in an address, say 127 Smith Street, it will say the closest I can get you is 126 it will be seven minutes there thank you very much, insert credit card here, off you go, drop me off.”

The Shark Tank presenter, an internet pioneer who launched PIPE Networks which he later sold to the TPG Group for $373 million, and has with Google in 2008 before returning home to become a major early stage investor in startups, says that regulations are holding back development of the industry in Australia.

“We need to smash CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) and say get out of our way,” he said.

“We don’t need to build a road. Think about a cubic kilometre of airspace and what you can do.

“We don’t need the government’s permission to do this, we really don’t.

“This is the best chance for us to have an amazing entrepreneurial reaction to a real problem which is mobility.”

Baxter participated as a member of a panel discussion about whether flying cars were the way of the future at The Myriad festival last Friday.

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