News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, February 8, 2019

We Welcome Our Automated Wegmans-Adjacent Overlords: Self-Driving Vehicles To Aid In Carrying Prepared Foods To Regular, Non-Self-Driving Vehicles

Enormously huge news for fans of Black Mirror-like dystopian futures, prepared foods, and planned real estate developments: Turns out our plastic fantastic planned community will be among the first to have self-driving cars zipping around, in an endless Wegmans-to-parking-garage-and-back-to-Wegmans loop in the fun new 4 million square-foot Reston Crescent development that's now apparently called Halley Rise, enabling hungry Restonians to make their rotisserie chicken runs at speeds approaching Mach 3. Sweet! Give us some futuristic blockquote, BFFs at the Verge:

Boston-based self-driving startup Optimus Ride said on Thursday that it will provide rides in its golf cart-sized vehicles to tenants of a $1.4 billion mixed-use development project in Reston, Virginia, starting later this year. It will be a very modest deployment of the technology — three vehicles on a fixed loop to and from the parking facility — but it underscores the need for self-driving car operators to rein in their ambitions before going public.
HOGWASH. It actually underscores the need to get those Wegmans prepackaged food containers back to the car before they get cold.
An MIT spinoff, Optimus Ride said its vehicles would be confined to the private development site called Halley Rise, and it will be geofenced, meaning they can’t operate outside of a specific geographic area. Human safety drivers will be in each vehicle in case anything goes wrong, though the company claims its technology is Level 4 capable, or able to handle all of the driving duties within the geofence and under specific conditions.
When the vehicles reach Level 5 capability, they will be able to enslave humanity pick out the best sushi platters and pre-warmed samosas on their own.

So that's exciting! But maybe you're looking for a futuristic means of transportation beyond the friendly confines of Halley Rise (BTW, does "rise" refer to our grocery bills, congestion along Sunrise Valley, or both?).

But we digress. Might we suggest the other futuristic, next-generation innovation in transportation -- the electric scooter? Already annoying and endangering people available in Arlington and D.C. proper, imagine our surprise when we opened our flip phone and saw one lonely Bird Scooter, apparently abandoned at the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station and pinging for help.

Awww, poor 'lil guy! Let's just hope this Bird has a better fate than the ones here:

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