Great TED Talks About Car Technology

If you’ve got a passion for entrepreneurship or are interested in the progress of automobile technology, listening to TED talks is a great way to learn about current advancements in the field.  Some of the brightest and most charismatic speakers gather at TED talks to talk about transformative projects, research breakthroughs, and innovative technology in the automotive industry.
The following is a guide that summarizes some of the best talks regarding car technology.

My Dream of a Flying Car by Paul Moller
If you’re interested in futuristic, innovative design with the potential to transform the transportation sector, you’ll love Paul Moller’s talk about the Moller Skycar. In his 15-minute speech, Paul Moller, the president, CEO, and chair of Moller International, details his vision of car-jet hybrids that would encourage drivers to move off the roads and take to the skiesusing hover disc technology.
Moller has been working on vertical takeoff and landing (VTL) personal vehicles since the late 60s. Although, as of 2016, no Moller car has been able to make a successful, untethered flight, Moller’s research and designs shouldn’t be dismissed. Rather, they should be viewed as the first steps toward freer personal travel.

Making a Car for Blind Drivers by Dennis Hong
In his 2011 TED talk, Dennis Hong, the founder and director of RoMeLa, one of Virginia Tech’s robotics labs, proposes a solution to the independent travel problem that plagues many individuals with disabilities, namely those with vision impairment.
Hong describes how,by using video cameras, advanced GPS systems, robotics, and laser rangefinders,it’s possible to develop cars for individuals who are blind. Hong stresses these cars shouldn’t be categorized as self-driving vehicles. Rather, they would be cars that allow those without sight to determine their speed, route, and distance, and travel independently.

Reinventing the Car by Larry Burns
Although his talk is a little over a decade old, former General Motor’s vice president Larry Burn’s short lecture on the future of car technology is a must-see for any tech or automobile enthusiast. Burns is an advocate for alternate forms of fuel and pollution-reducing technology such as hydrogen fuel cells.
At TED, Burns also talks about the types of car customization, sustainability, and innovationsleaders in the auto industry want to implement. Things have changed in the twelve years since he spoke to the public about the future of cars, but his talk serves as an excellent benchmark to measure how far modern cars have advanced.

A New Ecosystem for Electric Cars by Shai Agassi
As a green auto engineer with a foundation in the software industry, Shai Agassi proposes solutions to what he calls the world’s “fossil-fuel habit.” Agassi was inspired to pursue greener car technology at a Young Global Leaders conference in 2005and has been working with prominent names in the auto business like Nissan-Renault.
Agassi advocates for electric cars, claiming that hybrids are too oil-dependent and can’t offer the freedom from fossil fuels that the world really needs. Countries like Israel and Denmark are also on board with his ideas, pushing to mostly, if not completely, do away with their usage of crude oil by 2020.

A Future Beyond Traffic Gridlock
Larry Burns isn’t the only corporate head with a passion for innovation in the automobile industry. In 2011, Henry Ford’s great-grandson and former executive chair of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford, took to the stage to speak about the infrastructure and automobile needs of an increasing population.
Ford believes that it’s important for the autoindustryto invest in innovative infrastructure not only to benefit the environmentbut also to accommodate an increasingly mobile public. Ford’s talk details hisvisions for smart roads that help reduce traffic and make the planet a greener place.

Google’s Driverless Car
Tesla, Inc. isn’t the only major company attempting to turn the way we use cars on its head. At TED 2011, Sebastian Thurn, a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford AI Lab, spoke about his experience helping build Google’s driverless car.
Inspired by his robotics research and a personal desire to find technological ways to reduce traffic accidents, Thurn hopes to use his knowledge and expertise to contribute to advances in car technology. The driverless car he helped build passed numerous road tests, including successfully navigating through city traffic, and it went on the win the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. The car is now displayed at the Smithsonian museum.

The Future of Racecars by Chris Gerdes
Autonomous vehicles are, without a doubt, the future of the auto industry. Increasing the number of driverless cars on the road could potentially reduce the number of car accidents and traffic jams and minimize travel times. However, self-driving can be applied to more than just personal commutes, as Dr. Chris Gerdes, a mechanical engineer and director of the Center for Automotive Research explained at TEDx Stanford in 2012.
Using pioneering robotics technology, it’s possible to make autonomous racecars that can drive up to 150 miles per hour. Although racing fans and professional racers might have misgivings about changing the nature of the sport, self-driving racecars would be able to travel fast while avoiding most if not all accidents.

What a Driverless World Could Look Like by Wanis Kabbaj
Last, but certainly not least,is a thought piece from TED@UPS (United Problem Solvers), a multi-year collaborative project that focuses on the “what if” aspects of various fields. In this 2016 talk, Wanis Kabbaj attempts to paint a picture of the future that might be a lot closer than we think: a society where all cars are autonomous.
As the UPS director of global strategy for healthcare logistics, Wanis Kabbaj has more than 16 years of experience working with various global organizations and understands how widespread access to revolutionary technology can be beneficial to society.
Transportation is one of Kabbaj’s passions, and his love for finding ways new technology can solve world problems is evident in his speech. Kabbaj asks the audience to envision a world where transportation isn’t limited to the road but utilizes airways as well as roadways. He also describes the steps individuals can take to make this world of autonomous transportation a reality.

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