Tag Archives: Ross Kressel

Driver-less Cars

I’ve been dreaming of a car without a driver since I first saw the Back to the Future movies growing up.  The thought of being able to roll out of bed and read the newspaper or eat breakfast on the way to work is way to exciting to describe.  I knew Google was doing some research on this.  I had heard somewhere that they were testing some cars, but I didn’t know  what kind of success they were having.  I found a really cool video of ones of the test rides with a blind driver named Steve Mahan.

In the video, Steve takes the car along with the team working on this technology from Google and goes to Taco Bell and the dry cleaner before heading back to his house.  While in the past I had considered this technology interesting, I hadn’t considered its benefits to society.  This technology is more than just something to give me a few extra minutes.  A driver-less car is first about accessibility for the disabled.  Think of all the people you know who can’t drive, from those that are born without sight to those with other disabilities.  According to the National Federation of the Blind in 2011, 6.6 million people in the United States reported to have a visual disability.  Giving just these people more independence would be life changing for both the disabled and their loved ones.

Beyond the benefits to blind and otherwise disabled , vehicle safety can be seriously improved with driver-less cars.  Driving accidents today are most often caused by human error. Eliminating the human elements of driving through programming will not only increase safety, but also lead to more efficient traffic patterns.  Traffic jams could become a thing of the past once Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication becomes the norm.

In February, the Federal Department of Transportation announced that it would allow lights cars to activate V2V communication. Early adoption of V2V travel will be fairly simple, since the majority of cars won’t have it.  The strength of V2V systems will multiply as more people adopt it. V2V systems will one day combine complex algorithms to create routes for the greatest efficiency of all drivers on the road.

The widespread adoption of cars with major V2V systems will be only as fast as the regulatory environment and car manufacturers can implement it.  Will state and federal governments be able to charge tolls to take the most efficient routes to keep roads clear?  Will the market be slow to innovate with these new technologies, much like Kodak was after developing digital photography?  Or will these companies take advantage and make the cars of today obsolete.  If I have any say, I hope that car companies follow the words of Steve Jobs, who in an interview with Inc Magazine said, ” You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. ”



The NBA’s Mistake, Educations Lost, and More

Today I was on Yahoo, because it is my homepage and I was disappointed to see another story about a top-notch basketball player headed to Europe (Jeremy Tyler).  Then I saw something worst, he is only 18th and hasn’t finished high school yet and in a way I started to fault the NBA.

In 2005, under a new collective bargaining agreement, the NBA agreed to bar anyone under the age of 19 from playing in the NBA and forced those who had just finished their senior year of high school to either to play college basketball for a year (if they could qualify) or what is becoming more popular today, going to Europe.  Here is the specific rule:

  • The minimum age for entry into the NBA is 19; players must have their nineteenth (or later) birthday in the calendar year of the draft in order to be eligible;
  • Players who completed basketball eligibility at a U.S. high school, regardless of their nationality, must be at least one year removed from high school.

Despite their best intentions, the NBA is diluting the NBA talent pool and creating a class of future NBA players who have less education, rather than more like their initial intent.  I think when players as young as High School Seniors are leaving the US to cash in early in Europe, this is pretty significant proof that the NBA’s attempt to protect it’s youth failed.  The NBA players union and owners should come to a new collective bargaining agreement in which the age limit is as it was before the 2006 NBA Draft.

So I keep on thinking about moving into my new dorm room (sorry, Residence Hall if you go to CofC and work in Reslife).  I spent a year living in beautiful McAlister 230 B and would be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I got very used to it, but I am excited by the prospect of cooking on a semi-regular basis as well as by the fact I will have my own room.  Going back to Charleston means leaving mom, dad, and Anna home which I feel bad about, but I need to get back to things.  I miss my friends back at school, having a regular schedule, and my office.

The last part for some of you probably raises some questions, but to me lately, the most comforting thought is to be sitting in my cubicle in Stern 401 on August 19th, getting my work done, and planning for the upcoming year.  The “batcave” as Rocky would call it is the most comfortable place for me on campus and I know a lot of you don’t even know where it is, but I invite all of you to come visit me as some point.  In the near future I will be posting my office hours which I will ALWAYS be at unless I am like dying of the plague or swine flu or something crazy like that.  I miss the Stern Center, I’ll admit it, but who are you to judge me about that?



Michael Vick was signed today by the Eagles and I’m not really sure where he fits in there.  They have a pretty solid starter in McNabb and a solid backup in Kevin Kolb, so unless they have something else up their sleeves, I am a bit confused by that transaction, but they are pros so maybe I shouldn’t judge.  Good luck with the new media circus Andy Reid!