LMTF Podcast Episode 11: People-Carrying Drones

We talk about developments toward self-flying and people-carrying drones with legendary Silicon Valley software engineer John Sokol. Recorded 6 August 2017.

Our guest is legendary Silicon Valley software engineer John L. Sokol. In a career spanning over 30 years, John has pioneered several Internet and Streaming Video technologies. He has multiple patents to his name, and has been CTO at several Bay Area startups. He has done everything from releasing the first open-source UNIX distro in 1991 to building in 2014 a moving telepresence robot.  He’s currently Senior Software Engineer at LIDAR startup, Luminar.


One sign a prediction is ahead of its time is that when I introduce it to people they laugh.  I feel that means I’m on to something, although it might also mean that I’m crazy.

Self-driving cars made people laugh until very recently.  Now it’s widely accepted that it will come to pass in the next few years.  But the concept of self-driving people-carrying drones still triggers the laugh factor.

Despite this, Uber has a flying car program, and AirBus recently put out a white paper.


What applications can we see for drones in the future?

What are the biggest barriers to adoption of this technology today?

  • Regulatory
  • Safety
  • Self-driving capability (clearly humans cannot be trusted to fly drones in dense configurations above cities, nor would it be economical to have thousands of pilots sitting in the vehicles or piloting them remotely)
  • Human-carrying drones, transporting people and goods within and between dense cities balcony-to-balcony: even more point-to-point than a car can accomplish


  • No linkage infrastructure required.  Drones don’t need roads!  The billions of dollars in infrastructure simply goes away and isn’t needed.
  • A true “exponential” technology in that drones themselves can carry the charging stations and infrastructure needed
  • Any vision of a utopian future, or of a beautiful, idyllic living space, typically involves a city with no cars: Venice, Italy, Santorini, a National Park.  Imagine if our transportation needs were
  • Imagine if roads didn’t need to be built between cities.  Imagine if it was economical enough to fly between cities for all our logisticial and travel needs.  Imagine the amount of wild space that would be created, that wouldn’t need to be cut through with roads.  Imagine all the spacies in cities that could be given back to park land.

From Wikipedia:

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers.[1]

VTOL experimental aircraft

hacker mansion

Hacker Dojo

Santa Clara

Hacker space

full-size aircraft

noise levels


  • blood dripping from the ceilings
  • parachute’s loss of power at altitude

9 independent power systems the whole way down

autogyro gliding

flying cars – humans want to operate the controls, drunk drivers

power failure backup system


John Sokol’s Home Page

John Sokol’s Blog

Episode Machine Transcript (unedited and uncorrected)

Felt it was.

The future a discussion about future trends technologies and their implications in society.


Regular panelists Michael.

And Michael Carey Our guest is legendary Silicon Valley software engineer John L. So in a career spanning over thirty years John has pioneered several Internet and streaming video technologies he has multiple patents to his name and he has served as at several Bay Area startups he has done everything from releasing the first open source Unix distro in one thousand nine hundred ninety one to building in twenty fourteen moving telepresence robot he’s currently software engineer at LIDAR start up.

This episode’s discussion topic people carrying drugs.

OK let’s make the future I’m Michael Curry.

Why don’t we have our guests introduce themselves Jon please go ahead I’m also.

Working for a company called.

First to be a.

Fantastic You know one side prediction is ahead of its time is that when I introduce it to people they laugh so I feel like that means that I’m on to something although it might also mean that I’m crazy so driving cars I feel like the concept of a self dry. Being car that kind of made people laugh until very recently but now it’s widely accepted that it will come to pass in the next few years but the concept of drones specifically self driving let’s say people carrying drones still triggers the laugh factor at least when I introduce it at the dinner parties despite that though has a flying car program and air bus recently put out a white paper on the topic so there is clearly some potential in this technology and what I’d like to do today is to explore the current state of affairs with the technology and where it might take us by speculating far into the future so what have you guys seen lately in terms of the current applications for drones I believe that Amazon is testing drone delivery in the United Kingdom they just did a delivery a couple of months ago but have you guys seen anything in the news in the last few months.

In Silicon Valley.

That list. But if you.

Actually go through and through and Williamson and even some of the founders are in the group right now so there’s a lot of activity in the space for those that I can carry full size human passengers there’s actually one that had a big crash over in the airport there was an airport recently that my friend had what ten cameras running and like forty high resolution when they actually accidently one up like twenty feet. On the ground probably called like Elkhart or something like this which is like a VS all experimental aircraft one of the.

Kind of little rooms it’s like spectacular food you just watch and you just look all.

Over to taxi.

Will it went up and.

That’s terrible destroyed.

By the. It’s a ball stop very well twenty years ago at this point five to construct a rose that can do the job of that control systems in the SOON AS YOU GO TO THE for the do this all internal combustion I work suddenly trolley and speed through software becomes trivial but it was funny because you know we had because we call it the hacker mansion that’s. A stand up and portal of our where we had some initial meetings that spawn that Facebook group and there was a lot of people advocating for internal combustion engines and I’m like No no why would you want to do such a thing a million suddenly you put all this complicated systems that are difficult to control and I can do everything with directions to the papers that are like eighty eight percent efficient and controlling them to do let’s say a quad copters just an upscale version of your small consumer Terrans so quite popular technology is fairly it’s taken about as far as it’s going to go I’d say it’s actually reasonably mature although when you actually talk about flying vehicles you need to get something that’s kind of a hybrid with wings to really get your fish and seize up John that’s fantastic and I did get most of that we’re hearing a little bit of a fluctuation in your audio though so I think for the best chance here why don’t we it sounds like Michael found a phone number for you to call in on I think that will improve the audio feedback tells me that it worked so John you were talking about how there was a group of people that are interested in developing people carrying drones in Silicon Valley and they’ve made some significant progress and then you were telling us about an unfortunate crash that occurred recently with one of the startups Why didn’t even realize that the startup existed I so I’m a senior member of an organization called the hacker Joe which is now a semicolon or we were meant to do which is sort of an eclectic bunch of people so it’s a hacker space where a lot of us go and hang out and work on various projects so one of the guys there is a television professional. News videographer type that just sells aircraft stuff and so he was actually filming the first flight of this program I have got on video of the most spectacular of this thing and it crashed in the Hollister airport so I had pictures of this small foot and a half across prototype that they were demonstrating and then there was the full size aircraft on the runway but he actually to pay for the prototype crash so you know there is risk involved.

In perfecting these things and I was told or a reason why a crash was the seat that the pilot was on that collapsed under a breast of the aircraft was actually perfectly working order had the seat not actually buckled on the pilot right you talk about like a funny failure you know and I mean the seat wasn’t designed part it’s always the thing you didn’t expect but I wonder if so you’re saying is in this case there was a pilot sitting in the aircraft I would be more interested in drones that are self driving or people carrying vehicles that are self driving but I suppose that’s another step that’s a very interesting discussion because I get this initial meeting that we had this must have been about two years back now which seems to like really kind of start with disarms race in this area you know some people were very you know we want to do this boy through the full aircraft and there’s you know my roommate went off with my other roommate filed patents and didn’t hire paper and talk on a runway version that it would have to do this short takeoff and landing with some kind of autonomous vehicle helping push it along and I was like no it’s going to be very tall you know if you’re going to take off straight up and down and then there’s issues of noise levels in the neighborhood and things like this and you know I’ve been an advocate of this kind of integrated self driving and self flying which is now conceptualized in the air above us and put together some beautiful presentations of stuff like this I don’t know that somehow came from my father over to them somehow but that definitely embodied the concept I was trying to push which is you’ve got your cargo container with your person. No sort of portable living room and sound system that you have a say and then the wheels versus wanes versus putting it on a train or whatever or more like in for mobile compare system but for human passengers concepts so there’s a lot of different ways of going about this you know I was always pushing for this more of a want of a better concept I don’t know if you remember Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory or they will be watching the great glass elevator right yeah well that’s basically the glass elevator where you step in and you push a button and it takes you across campus you know in the case of let’s say Stanford or of the Google campus which comprises of hundreds of buildings scattered over tens of miles and you know you’re not actually flying the vehicle the vehicle itself is self navigating and doesn’t really need to go up more than a few hundred feet above the power line stuff but well below the normal air traffic space So John are you just to clarify are you in this elevator concept talking about a box that is tethered to the actual powered lift vehicle or is it integrated and the actual the propeller blades actually land down on the ground in the vehicle I’m just picturing in an actual elevator box right now but I was actually you know sketched out some rough concepts where we have a circular impeller on the top using the Bernoulli Effect as a term for this but it’s true in the Morey from the think of it I guess we’re going to work on my in my notes and find but it’s sort of having propeller blades in the normal sense it would literally be a circular acrylic too but you step into that looks like a phone booth from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure that would just lift you up and take you across campus on one hand and then the building and receive the NIST and then provide recharging of the vehicle or whatever its power sources fascinating but again there’s a lot of ways of skinning this cat the scary part with doing this is a quad copters you’ve got a quad copter blade.

Which even a five pound drone is enough to really. Flies up a person you know one of my friends has the story that cops going down his arm like every half inch elephant of his arm and the striving how there was like blood dripping from the ceiling the lab at Stanford.

So you know how full size one like this around humans is a daunting prospect if things go wrong well what when I actually got me thinking about something to solve that problem was parachutes in that right now I believe if you just let the parachute naturally deploy it takes something like six hundred feet two hundred meters for the parachute to fully deploy and actually arrest the motion of something whereas if you could use some kind of explosive trigger to deploy the parachute very rapidly I wonder if again using the concept of computer control if the computer could detect that the drone is you know the mechanical component of the drone of lost control because I agree with you that for any of this to take place close to humans and not just be kind of a play time technology for people in outdoor parks we have to think very very carefully about safety and I wonder if that’s one way to deal with that or if there are other ideas to sort of handle the issue of safety at Please go ahead so with safety again you know in the case a parachute you talk about the loss of the power system itself while you’re out too and so that will be really implies you’re flying substantially you know fairly high but it’s more of a propeller or even at ground level you know it’s so an aircraft with a spinning propeller if you think about it it is like a food grinder probably if I could use the cutting edge of a lawnmower a blender whipping around at high speed the somebody goes near the blades at ground level you’re in serious trouble on terms of being able to enter somebody and there isn’t really know of a good way of moving air you know and rockets are something which have other issues flame and propellers have a lot of sound issues as well so certainly that’s something that the stream we were out in. Magine you want to come home at two in the morning you’re going to wake up you’re tired neighborhood the other issue is you’re in flight suddenly you’ve got some sort of engine failure now in the case of internal combustion this is significant My feeling is with ripple redundancy so with a minimum nine propellers or trust units of whatever they are we have three entirely separate flight control systems running in parallel with trip or doesn’t see the whole way down and even on the power system we can have a lithium ion and super taps and a few other maybe I was the hobby of whole gastronomy engine driving the generator so we could have this thing where it’s power from let’s say bio diesel or some sort of hydrocarbon fuel driving a gas turbine for our main power source and on the lithium ion capacitors would be for some sort of power failure backup system and the intent there would be to be able to look just quiet or bring down the aircraft safely as opposed to trying to do something with parachutes because I think our copper blades and copper blades and parachutes really are not going to agree with each other you just can’t put a shoot out a helicopter or even parachuting out of a helicopter it’s a frightening concept because you would just get such great into the blades of the aircraft unless you are substantially you know considerably below their craft so the safety issues like this again I think that with electronic control systems the stack should be addressed fairly well if you look at some of the older aircraft like auto gyros and ultralights and fixed wing they have mechanical inherent built in safety systems where they are capable whiling or auto gyro going where a bound work force would actually continue spinning the helicopter blades even if the engine cancel so the helicopter loses engine power doesn’t just drop out of the sky like a pressure they can actually glide to a stop certainly any kind of wing aircraft would be capable of that as well crane OK and the topic also of a lot of people when they think flying cars they actually want to be able operate in. Rolls and I’m thinking well you know we’ve got drunk drivers by going up stuck on rooftops and telephone poles I just posted a picture on Facebook of someone that ended up in the lobby of a Red Lobster with a vehicle and a Lastly why that suddenly drunk drivers falling out of the sky onto our rooftops No kidding I think that we’re going to have to go upon a mess an election power to make this worthwhile so there are several groups actually going to a more professional like there’s a group called Sustainable aviation and another group called Cafe foundation that are both advocating for electric vehicles and let me pull up the guy’s name from the cinema Levy Asian foundation Syria the fellow came down gave a talk Brian Seeley sustainable aviation gave a talk at the Hacker Dojo and his group actually went through the mathematics and numbers it was an incredible clock because it really kind of fill in a lot of the stuff that I didn’t even consider or hadn’t gotten that far on which is most commute is typically under thirty miles and that doing this with aviation like flying would actually be more fuel efficient than driving even with a carbon even with an internal combustion engine on the helicopter while copters aren’t particularly efficient but with like a fixed wing aircraft if you can get around the whole taxiing in profit control issues airports which certainly autonomous vehicles would do computer arise traffic management systems and whatnot it would actually be far more efficient to fly you know those thirty miles and certainly by the time you go well beyond thirty miles to one hundred or more flying is just vastly more efficient I mean getting on a commercial aircraft to go to Denver cost me two hundred fifty dollars round trip last night Southwest and you know that will cost me far more gasoline than a friend that try and drive so the fuel efficiency of an aircraft for people is much better than a vehicle on the road so he or she made some really good arguments showing the economics of this having been an adventure for the past three years economics drives everything so soon as all of the key pieces that are missing come. Which are really the you know upon a Miss Control System Software which is there I mean we’ve got this on small drones right now or we could do mission pass planning and G.P.S. and everything into the autonomous doing this with the full sized aircraft with a person on board wouldn’t be very difficult OK that’s great Michael I think you have a question I had a very interesting comment that you provided to them as an been electric just wondering.

Why the ad option full human carrying you Avi what will you be I think maybe I need to be.

Get used for a month before we go and if we acquire the way we have that option of baseball team and just petition what you think would be that ought to. Be ready Checkley at the end of the industry need a check the quite timid check to get it up point well I think that autonomous vehicles on the road are probably the first step so high and lighter is like the stuff that blue menorahs put in the other I think is going to be critical I mean the lighter we have isn’t exactly right for flying vehicles but it’s close and it’s a small step to go from what we’re doing now with cars to flying vehicles one of the bigger concerns is just impacting wind birds and running into wires and things like you know I had a friend die at the same Clarus airport trying to land and hit one of the power lines there so running into things white wires in the air power lines has always been a concern when you’re flying below the ground so sensors radio position systems like G.P.S. but that’s a ground based and there’s a number of protocols coming together the European standards mostly white v the X. and V. The V. that will allow cars to communicate with each other and reporter each of locations can like transponders so that other airborne vehicles will be aware of each of those locations as well as being able to do like range finding between them using radio systems so I think it’s going to be a common. In the sensors which are coming together for cell five in vehicles in the radio technology and then the overall control system and management of the site again there’s a lot of debates on you know is this some sort of central civic authority that kind of like a citywide air traffic control that dictates where the vehicles go or the vehicles going to be mostly independent making their own decisions and courses without a central authority but still have some way of communicating and negotiating safely so at some point there might be things like traffic lanes with full size aircraft have now so it’s like odd altitude like thirty one thousand feet the point of traveling east and thirty two thousand feet probably last or has something to that effect I don’t know the exact details but they have some way of negotiating certain altitude traffic slowing in certain directions so when we’re talking about operating things low to the ground I suspect again a lot of free cargo food delivery are probably going to be first and then once you’ve got cargo the size of human traffic it’s a small step to eventually have people on them as well so there’s a whole bunch of kind of a whole ecosystem that’s what we’re going to have to just piece itself together John I’d be interested to follow up with you on your talking about communication protocols you mentioned V. to X. and V. to V. I guess v to the stands for vehicle to vehicle so more decentralized protocol that you mentioned the Europeans are working on her that’s being worked on in Europe it seems to me like this is precisely the kind of mission critical application for a decentralized protocol given that the drones close to one another need to communicate to Laich other know let’s say there’s a bird in the way they can one drone can tell the other drones about that bird power lines etc So it does seem like it’s the absolutely perfect application for communication that’s decentralized in that way and it seems like there’s also potential there to avoid what could turn into an extremely centralized approach where let’s say the government is tracking the position of every single. Drone and that starts to make it difficult for someone to conceal their movement from the government you know just in a reasonable privacy sense if every single drone is being tracked by a central authority so it might be nice at this juncture for someone to develop some kind of open source or standards based protocol so drones can communicate with one another and give their sensor data to one another in an open protocol that is fully decentralized I wonder what you think about that while I think having a central authority would slow things down immensely I mean just even the air traffic control towers right now having managed to get to this point with regular aircraft and trying to be able to do this on a massive scale with every single vehicle that we have on the ground driving right now suddenly would have to be doing an airborne version of this I think is just you know waiting for that to occur would really set things back but some of the sparkle I was thinking of was a man Strieber system systems which those who die and did X. which is vehicle to everything although blizzard were giving a talk in Fremont with this week on that subject they’re talking about having your cell phone keep track of pedestrians for the vehicles and I’m like thinking OK we’re going to have to tag every protest free and so what if some little kid runs out in the street and they don’t have a phone on the school run them over.

You know the so I think that padding really advanced radar and wider and vision systems I think is going to be absolutely critical for the success of some of these systems obviously of communication you’re right your brother has spoken about them so by Pat and you know and the app and you know what happens when an elf on a mother John is being asked on the outside you know they say.

Well I feel you know basically for the joining a hog pen to draw and protect them in that what physical and software they.

Will be but it’s a little hard for me to make out what you’re saying you know you’re saying that if somebody tries to hack the system yes. The way fact my cap if as I said somebody on the up I think in pain control of the joint so that he you know would need to be away and then but in your own it’s been. A Who somebody maybe. But if you are by that on the. Amount you put.

This into a so I don’t know what.

So I’m actually leading a group of backers we call fly by S.T.R. group but it’s in preparation for something called the DARPA hack Fest which is taking place in November and it is about using software to fire and radio to basically operate drones and prevent them from being active all as well as possibly the hack drones as well so using a software defined radio being able to step into some of these current wife I session and cry Jack a drone has been demonstrated is actually been done in military situations I think it was Iran that captured one of our drones a few years back but these are assuming ground based stations that intercept the control signals of the drone where I think at this point the autonomous vehicle system we’re going to be looking at putting a small supercomputer on board a vehicle like this and it’s going to be flying mostly autonomous so having drones that would operate entirely based on G.P.S. and ground based sensors those are already people doing this out there quite successfully small scale drums and military drones and the Tomahawk cruise missiles were famous for being able to do this kind of thing where once they launched it it was doing all the navigation and terrain mapping and everything entirely disconnected and radio silent so hacking only really occurs when we’re relying on radio basis thems and there are so open source software again that will allow you to generate your own G.P.S. signals which would be able to basically allow you to hijack a drone and steer it wherever you want because you can just lie about your G.P.S. data and if it’s wrong entirely. G.P.S. then you can totally forget to thinking that it’s going someplace who different than the thinks it’s going so I wonder if I think there’s a number of things that have to occur in that space yeah I work or if i’m sorry i just wanted to add to your point there you’re talking about hacking the G.P.S. signal and it makes me wonder if you know for example we can detect the position of the moon through you know launching a laser beam at the moon and having it bounce back in position the moon at a millimeter resolution are probably greater than that even just by timing the signal time difference and of course using radar we can do similar things that doesn’t require line of sight I mean I’m not the expert on this but I’m pretty sure that that’s all correct so it does seem like for example if we had drones flying in dense cities with lots of buildings around just like we have cellphone towers right now I wonder if those towers could be emitting a signal but I wonder if that signal could be that transponder for a given tower could be registered on some block chain that it’s validated and so it’s impossible to spoof a given transponder signal because it’s registered in a Public Ledger and once again we still retain the decentralized nature of the navigation system that I think we’re all agreeing would be favorable over a centralized system just a thought well I don’t block trains probably not that we were useful in this kind of situation though you know it’s fairly slow it actually is a be socialized database as far as helping you find a capability of that tower it’s probably not going to very remote use again all have have to do is let’s say put a radio link for some sort of thing why I can call that towers communication let’s say a half a mile over and suddenly you can do all your communication thinking that and talk to the real power except I just relocated it you know a mile over and you’d have no idea that you’re talking to a repeated version of the tower not the actual power.

Fair enough Yeah well there’s a lot of character. Second of onto again things like video cameras and light armor that get ground truth that actually looking at the REAL all I think is going to be critical great point I’d like to step back for a second we talked about some of the items on Michael’s desire checklist for what it would take to get this technology off the ground so to speak I forgive the pun but one thing that you hinted at John near the beginning of our TOC was noise levels and it seems like that might be a pretty fundamental issue with operating drones in a dense public space just like the sonic boom sort of condemned the Concorde into a very narrow role that ultimately became an economical route from London to New York that didn’t cover any population areas I wonder if if we end up having to limit drone operation to areas that are not populated that will severely limit the kind of wonderful applications that were no doubt thinking about right now well I think this is where this intermodal container concept that comes in so you look at the history of shipping the Greeks had these quite a pot that were just enough for one person to carry and move and they stack by and all of the goods in merchandise had a fit in these clay jars and you know these were fairly large quasars but they can put wind they can put all was or all ill or you know whatever goods they wanted all had a fit in these things and they were all uniform and stackable and later we had things like the barrel the wooden barrels which again they put all their rituals into those barrels amount of a we’ve got the Intermodal container system which is a fantastic history of these things and the standard whole spacings and all these ships going back and forth between the U.S. and China and all this international trade has really been facilitated by these land sea air container so these giant forty foot and twenty four foot containers can go on the back of trucks they can go on trains they can go on the ships they can go in airplanes and the contents of these containers which ship are relieved. Just doesn’t care about the customs people do but everything has to fit within a container and so I’m looking at now we want to have lent you know autonomous transportation systems but I’m looking at what I call and I gave a talk about this like three years ago at the robotics of business conference with what I call the real Io T. or the Internet of transportation and so once we standardize a container for moving cargo and passengers suddenly imagine taking the drive train from a Tesla car and being able to drop onto that a container that’s your Basically your car body so you’ve got your chair your briefcases and other stuff that you carry around between home and work every day and your vehicle you know all the stuff in your trunk could be picked up by a set of wheels and transported and then if you want to travel farther that can then be lifted up under withdrawn and so maybe reserving a certain region of the city that’s far enough away from housing where you can have a real stake you to that region and then with a few up and transport you between cities which I want to go between San Francisco and San Jose you’d start your journey from your house on a pair of electric wheels that would drive you to three miles to an area where then you could take off the bulk of your travel or put you onto a higher loop or whatever sort of ground transportation system makes Mossad’s and if it’s all autonomous of a passenger you just push a button and you go from point A to Point B. and how you achieve it doesn’t matter I mean who are still thinking along the lines of autonomous cars and the cars will go in charge of themselves something like a robot going to have to come in and clean them out when they get dirty and then the vehicles the fire and you pick you up and deliver you the entire trip and taking that to OK we’re going to have air vehicles doing this is a small set up but I think at the end of the day you’ve got your smell your stuff that you like to carry around with you your sound system and having your own private space that is independent of the wheels of the flight control system so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining and. Buying new tires and checking the batteries and I think that’s all commit we probably were it does seem like we’re kind of going in that direction with the Tesla being a drive by wire vehicle and separating the entire drive train in the Mechanical the movement part of the vehicle from the rest of it it seems like that’s the way they’re being manufactured and that seems to make sense and fits with your idea of an intermodal container concept there it seems to me like it will be critical to decide on what makes the most economic sense at each step of the transportation journey so Hyperloop might make the most sense for intercity travel but then within the city there might be a different form of transportation one thing that I reflect on living in dense city in Southeast Asia here Bangkok where the amount of land devoted to roads is about seven percent of the city’s footprint compared with a city like Houston which would be more like thirty to forty percent you get into these amazing epic traffic jams at almost all times of the day and what I reflect on is how even the guy with the Mazda Raddy or the Lamborghini is sitting in the very same traffic as the guy with the donkey pulling the cart right there’s no difference there but if you could take your intermodal container and then just have that be lifted up by some grappling hook and out of the traffic Well there you go now you’re out of the traffic and that’s what I thought Are your journey without ending up in the traffic in the first what otherwise you’re leaving the husk of your car sitting in traffic yes that’s a fair point. Yeah yeah the rebel is going to want to look at the regulation and what I did think. Maybe respect and also do my Because maybe I need like right.

You know and I’m one who are almost drawn and all of them because you have to recall that it when they’re going back and you know all all of this of course. On the beach and by this.

Privately. In the rest they show you know you have the owner of the who you have it there are problems you are where they think we should be believing that the militia to ensure that they can live be encouraged to better resolution that’s a great question Michael Yeah I wonder about that too because it does seem like regulations of course like anything else they’re sort of a step behind where it needs to be and it does seem like the first places that it would be logical for a city operated people carrying drones to operate would be in the dense cities of Southeast Asian I wonder if they’ll end up relaxing the regulations first in an attempt to leap frog some of the places that you might think would be the first adopters of technology like in the U.S. or Europe Well it’s interesting to see you know California has just issued its thirty seventh self driving car license for experimental Trident vehicles and at the same time India just passed a law outlawing self-drive in the Eccles the so I don’t want to put people out of work you know they’re very different philosophies so you know I see this is kind of an arms race though where if we don’t open up regulation to allow this to happen and China does say for example or other countries suddenly they’re going to get more efficient the traffic is good and there are economies are going to stir booming and suddenly they’re spending less money on fuel and people are going around easier the friction if you will gets reduced and a country that insists on not going that route is going to get left behind and you know outside definitely see America hopefully as being one of the more progressive ones I was shocked to see that the city of San Francisco within hours of publicly sharing or what we’re getting out that had a self driving car on the streets of San Francisco they actually passed a law banning it within hours I mean so you sit there and you look at the legal system you go whoa geez these guys move slow as molasses and yet they were able to get up and act the ban within the course of half a day at the Fed in time you know the law in Moscow has made incredible strides good in the for. Government to change regulation to allow his vehicle through and so I think that when big industrialists and large corporations like Google or somebody start advocating I think that was controlling for a quick way I think for small entrepreneurs though we’re pretty much stuck living within the existing law set that’s out there until a big company decides to step up and apply pressure well over wasn’t big when it first started flouting the laws around taxi licensing and I’d argue that that’s what made it big it’s interesting to see how companies like Google or hub which is basically a pending the scientific publication industry right now by releasing almost every scientific article for free on this website that’s hosted somewhere in the former Soviet bloc where it out of the reach of Elsevier and in the other major scientific publications so it seems to me like the lesson of who were in the lesson of science is to do as Grace Hopper extorted us to do which is to ask for forgiveness and not for permission now I’m not going to go on record here and say everyone should just be flying their drones wherever they want and clearly there is a need for a regulatory framework but I think there’s also we should also recognize that sometimes the future seems to favor the bold approach and some of these technologies that are held down by really old fashioned regulations while in off our mind pointed out that they’re everyone in the fire code was paid for by somebody’s life and as sort of somebody who’s been a legendary hacker I mean I actually was very involved in the release of the work we don’t extend the Internet back and maybe to a number of other things that you know there’s a pirate to sort of flout the authorities in the law like we’re good and there’s a pile of mob do that knowing which is which and what you can get away with I think is really the secret to being successful they’re scary ally and so we kind of was able to ride on that great line where they were kind of getting around some of the packs. Laws but at the same time the pax who was wrongly put in the cross axes which companies advocated for these laws as opposed to things were traffic safety issues where you know they caught that we were run a red light in the cities like you know somebody is going to die if we don’t shut this down now so I think buffoonish you start trying to build a real company and you’ve got investor money on the line you really can’t start fly out my wall like this or you’re going to be in trouble very quickly that’s a great point I wonder if your investors and I wonder if the individuals operating in this industry have a responsibility to their peers to not wreck it for everybody else if you know the first people carrying drone start up that crashes with a bunch of passengers is going to set back the whole industry quite a distance because it’s going to scare places and jurisdictions into banning the whole technology so I agree that a cautionary approach maybe the better analogy is with people carrying private space technology where again they’re trying to be very careful and each accident is very critical to the industry or as an exercise in soul searching every time it happens so here at let’s make the future we talk about future technologies but we also talk about their implications for society and for the future so I’d like to spend the next approximately ten minutes before we’re done to kind of get ideations here and to think about the implications of I think it be interesting for us to examine the kind of society that would be if we had these kinds of technologies fully adopted or widely adopted so it seems to me like human caring drones could transport people and goods both within and between especially dense cities they could even do it balcony to balcony which would be superior to point to point you could leave from your balcony get onto a drone and fly to the next balcony I wonder if this would create a kind of a different society in some cities where some people might never go down to the. Ground floor of their city because they can just stay at the higher levels and I wonder if this will help to exacerbate inequality in societies if people never interact with those that perhaps can’t afford to live at the higher levels of some of the cities I see that kind of social strata already in Bangkok but at least there’s some forced interaction that has to take place when people who live in these alter a luxury condominiums have to at least go down to the ground floor and walk past the poor people in the society also think about the implications to cities with the existing infrastructure because the great thing about drones is they don’t require linkage infrastructure between transportation nodes I guess any flying technology has this property so unlike cars or unlike Hyperloop you don’t need to build billions of dollars of infrastructure in the form of roads and tunnels to connect people from one place to another instead the only infrastructure you need of the drones and potentially charging stations for those drones so billions of dollars in infrastructure might become unnecessary and it also might free up large amounts of space in cities if it’s widely adopted enough for parks or meeting places for people when I think of a beautiful idea like living space I think of maybe Venice in Italy or Santa Raney or a national park but imagine if our transportation needs were met by drones and then roads didn’t really even need to be built very much in cities we could be living in a paradise on the ground there in cities without cars constantly interrupting our lives so I wonder if this technology might end up being as important for the twenty first century as cars were for the twentieth Yeah well you know hard science actually brought a really good job of exploring actually worked on the books which never really made it out there are.

Also up to tourists. Called the future engine and how science fiction really kind of shows a light and allows us to try on new clothes you know we can try on different ideas and present them to the public and science fiction before actually trying to implement technology are all and so I can go through a long list of five five movies that had autonomous vehicles in place and flying cars and various conceptual ideas everything from Fifth Element which everyone was Blade Runner and other stories tried to depict worlds like this and they’re probably not too far from the mark ultimately when these things going to implement it so I even wrote a short story on how a city would look like with a combination of sort of out with the reality and self driving cars where suddenly the need for street signs and all the signage at street level goes away because augmented reality would present science and visual information to pedestrians and people in the vehicles and yet at the same time the vehicles are going to need street signs or street lights as well and then you end up with the problem of again you know the guy with the palkee car over the kid on the road could present quite a challenge to autonomous vehicles that try and want to have a pit with them so I think there’s going to be a lot of negotiation that occurs during the transition period and ultimately I think it’s all going to be autonomous systems and they had this Internet of transportation I’m calling it and so the way I and model this is this change in transportation systems is going to be like the change we saw with the Internet with data so one of the things that occurs when suddenly we can get this real time information moving freely as opposed to having to stamp it onto a CD or printed out of a piece of paper or connect over a phone line and download it from some B.B.S. or something at much lower rates or T.V. We’re just broadcast out the same copy to everybody suddenly this concept of granularity occurs where I don’t need to get the Empire newspaper I can just read the one article that’s of interest to me I don’t have to cut it out with a piece of paper and the. And it’s to a friend when there’s something interesting you can just forward to me via email and so suddenly I’m able to get just the news but of interest to me and not have to get all kinds of other stuff that comes along with that So you think about what’s in your refrigerator right now and you know you’ve got a bob big box of frozen whatever or all gallon of milk and you know all the entire box of cereal or a bag of carrots where there’s going to be a part of us food preparation autonomous farming I’ve actually been there we never got funded but several different efforts to try and build robotic farming systems for example the farms were going to be a problem in the factories and warehouses are upon us the transportation linkages are autonomous and suddenly I think you are like are from salad and it will be able to pick the fruit compare the fruit and look over the fruits of my house in one pass all the course of ten fifteen that fresh off the vine or off of the plant so this ability to decentralize and granular all eyes means that I don’t have to buy in bulk what I need I can get just what I need in real time and live a much lighter life for a few Well I don’t have to have a house full of all kinds of stuff because there could be brought to me as needed economics I suppose that’s what’s happening with Amazon and the vision there to bring down the transportation time to get things so you don’t think about it when you want to order something on Amazon eco no matter how small the item is Amazon wants to basically be a loss leader in those items to get people essentially addicted to portering things in that granular fashion but that farm to table idea is mind blowing thank you for that yeah you know so I see a lot of that happening with much just food but everything the reduction of the transportation costs means that I don’t have to have a washer and dryer to go to a central place where it’s done automatically so I think at the end you know we’re going to be living well as if everyone’s living in a five star hotel or something where everything’s done for us you know as fantastic. Michael go ahead I’ll shut up I mean I think been taking amazing time thinking about drones and what implication they have for our future and I think.

The boarding up to Jerry would be to up and more accurately own company were adequate and I think these patients for two five and able to enjoy the company Kate the Oakleaf in this cost benefit though they are still left with Michael you mentioned the fact that we ducked such across the top that having a do and.

That would not to be you think between to look action you know he just walked away to land and that’s that and that could be a little bit of an a structure and then John Mason that we will have to make our life just up and those other thing you know where we can. Be because more simple less complex and more those that like big improvements to the will will be by life right now that you know people don’t actually talk about when we talk about drones we all talk about the risk that they may well what of that habitat what the crash spend so also and I will benefit that society and it will be a weapon think about and I think those would be the boarding on teach us like was the comic a society you know I could a said it better myself Michel and I’d like to thank you John for participating on short notice might I add and sharing with us your obviously very deep knowledge on this subject so thank you so much for taking some time on your Sunday morning here to talk to us so I just want to give you a chance if there’s anything else you’d like to say Please go ahead you know up the whole list of protocols and information I have several blogs I read on a number of topics so they can connect to our John Jay which has said OK well find out more about that and thank you very much Michael opportunity thank you again John Edwards going to thank done from Nick and the question of whether they have the who they are the Sunday to think so. But all right thanks a lot guys I really appreciate it. Bye bye. And let’s make the future music and entertaining Christiane pal tonight.


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