Long before he took up debating chairs, back when men were men and cops held pistols like teacups, Clint Easton was Dirty Harry, and Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
I’ve been reminded of that a lot lately, based mostly on how few hours I tend to sleep a night, but plenty of other things as well. While I can’t speak for Clint, I think Harry Callahan would’ve recommended corporations don’t go getting too far ahead of themselves either.
Case in point, the newest use for my favorite pet world-changing technology: Google’s self-driving cars.
Apparently, being ferried to work while unconscious isn’t the only visionary implementation on the to-do list. The real beauty of self-driving cars is their ability to deliver products to your house.
According to the article on AndroidAuthority.com, your deliveries will eventually be brought to you by driverless cars. And it will be awesome.
Delivery without human contact has so many advantages. For one thing, unless the vehicle doing the delivery is a cross between an armored car and one of those 24-hour theft-proof convenience store windows, you’ll presumably be able to also pick up those Frankline Mint collectors’ coins your neighbors had ordered and anything else that looks good, too, including the delivery car itself.
They’ll get that all sorted out, of course, with lasers and self-driving police cars and stuff. Much hazier is how self-driving cars are any real advantage to consumers. Aside from UPS’s obsessive compulsive routing system that eliminates costly left turns, it’s difficult to imagine benefiting much from the actual “vehicle drives to your house” phase of the shopping experience. Compared to the logistics stuff that’s already going on with hubs and airplanes, the part where the shit gets driven to your house doesn’t seem to be any area for much improvement.
But apparently I’m missing the point. According to AndroidAuthority’s article, instant gratification is about to get even more instanter.
Other companies, such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and others have been developing the idea of same day shipping. In essence, you order an item and it’s delivered to your door step in just a few hours. This would be fantastic for the online shopping community. Google has been making plans to do this as well.
The service has been live in San Francisco for a little while now. However, it is currently only for Google employees, their families, and their friends. Instead of getting into commerce and keeping warehouses, Google’s plan is to partner up with companies that have these things and simply deliver the items. According to the New York Times, a well known apparel company is already involved in this concept with Google.
Never mind the fact that Google’s entrance into a massive warehouse logistics endeavor would make even less sense than their purchase of Motorola. What’s weirdly adorable about this article is its unbounded optimism about a future in which basic cognitive skills no longer guarantee humans a job. The article continues,
Okay, so Google’s plan for same day deliveries is awesome. What’s even more awesome is that they plan on using their self-driving cars to do it. Just imagine, a legion of cars without drivers delivering your new gadget or clothing items directly to your curb. Then you can retrieve it and the car goes off to its next delivery.
This is an amazing concept. With no drivers to pay and, thus, no scheduling conflicts, Google’s self-driving cars can deliver things day and night. So when that wine you’re drinking makes you impulse buy that Star Wars themed Android charger in the middle of the night, Google’s self-driving cars will have it there before morning.
Online shopping is already pretty popular. People buy things online all the time. So would the addition of same day shipping be the next big thing and make it even more popular? More importantly, would you use a service like this? Let us know.
Yes, because when I order my Star Wars-themed Android charger in the middle of the night, it’ll be so much more convenient to have the package arrive at three or four in the morning.
And what the fuck is, “Online shopping is already pretty popular”? Yes, I believe I’ve heard of this “online shopping” of which you speak. Of all the moving parts required to make delivery within hours happen, I believe self-driving cars would be the least impressive. Near the top, however, would be having warehouses within hours of everyone’s homes and replicating your inventory in every one of them.
Once that miracle is solved, then yes, I’ll be the first to “online shop” myself a pair of “road closed” signs and see if I can roadblock a Google car into an existential crisis.