Self-driving car technology that sounded like science fiction just a couple of years ago is now a reality.



couple of years ago is now a reality.>

while Ford announced plans for autonomous car services. Of course, Google

and Tesla are among the biggest names in the field.>

ANTHONY MASON: Self-driving car technology that sounded like science fiction just a couple of years ago is now a reality. Just this week, Uber started self-driving car pickups in Pittsburgh, while Ford announced plans for autonomous car services. Of course, Google and Tesla are among the biggest names in the field. But a host of auto brands at other tech heavyweights are also investing heavily in driverless vehicles.

VINITA NAIR: So what does the future hold for this soon to be booming business? Let`s ask Derek Thompson, senior editor for The Atlantic. Derek, good morning.

DEREK THOMPSON (The Atlantic Senior Editor): Hello.

VINITA NAIR: It feels like we got here slowly and yet very, very quickly.

DEREK THOMPSON: Right. Like bankruptcy. Slowly, slowly, and then all of a sudden, which might happen to some of the car companies ironically. It is-- it`s kind of amazing. And you have sort of three different categories of players here. You have the car manufacturers, Ford, Tesla, Toyota, who are moving from driver cars to driverless cars. You have a tech company Google that`s moving into the car manufacturing business for the first time. And then kind of fascinatingly you have Uber which is not a hardware company at all, it`s a software company, it`s a services company. And their advantage might be, all right, if you have this fleet of autonomous vehicles it isn`t all you want, it`s not the ownership, but rather just the ability to access the driving itself with the push of a button.

ANTHONY MASON: The technology-- technological advances have been pretty remarkable for these things. What`s-- what`s the latest at this point?

DEREK THOMPSON: So it`s interesting. And the first ideas for autonomous vehicles was that it wasn`t the vehicles that would to be autonomous, it was the roads themselves.


DEREK THOMPSON: The roads would have magnets that would carry the cars around, like--

ANTHONY MASON: That`s what I thought would happen.

VINITA NAIR: Yeah. Right.

DEREK THOMPSON: Like bumper cars or something. Right. But, instead, all of the technology just poured into the car itself. So on the screen you can see, they have lasers, they have camera sensors, they have these mapping technologies because you don`t just send the car out into the street and hope that it finds its way. You also often have a mapping technology that canvasses the entire area, that canvasses the world in order to direct the car itself.

VINITA NAIR: So Uber did a test run in Pittsburgh. Did they learn any lessons? Because it seems like Pittsburgh is an interesting city to also pick to-- to test this out in.

DEREK THOMPSON: Yeah. One of the people had a really interesting phrase where he said testing automated driving in Uber is like learning how to ski by starting with the double black on the mountain. You have to figure out how to drive around the hardest city in America to figure out how to drive around the easiest. And so the thought is that because Pittsburgh is so topographically weird with all of the rivers and the hills.


DEREK THOMPSON: And the fact that you have terrible ice in the winter, that if the cars can master that city, then they can master just about any city.

ANTHONY MASON: The dark cloud sort of hanging over all of this, this is the possibility that it could eliminate millions of jobs, obviously taxi drivers, et cetera. Is that real do you think?

DEREK THOMPSON: By one account, driving is the most salaried activity among American men when you add together the taxi drivers and the bus drivers and the limo drivers and 1.5 million people are signed up to drive on Uber, all of these people are in line to be hit by the automation wave. I do think it`s a potentially an enormous problem. And it`s very difficult to know what to do with it right now, because there really hasn`t been anything quite like this maybe since you had robots sent to manufacturing factories or even before that, you know, the tractor replacing horses on the farm. This would be an unbelievably revolutionary and truly in the true spirit of the term, disruptive technology.

VINITA NAIR: It would also it seem prompt more regulation because at this point we`re sort of in unchartered waters, we`ve seen Uber do this before. This is sort of-- that textbook play for them. What will they do in term of regulation?

DEREK THOMPSON: I sort of think that this is like a chaotic system where the tiniest flutters of the butterfly wing can create the monsoon over Indonesia, that idea.

ANTHONY MASON: Yeah, yeah.

DEREK THOMPSON: If there`s a dangerous crash in San Francisco or a horrible crash in Seattle or a cluster of them, I feel like that changes everything because it changes consumer`s sentiment and people stop seeing driverless cars as the future and start seeing them as a potential menace.


DEREK THOMPSON: So I think a lot is undecided and a lot is unknowable, but it really is a confluence of factors that are going to lead to the sort of huge popularity of these vehicles. It`s not just the regulatory question, it`s the insurance, it`s whether or not twenty and thirty something`s buying their first or second car are interested in a driverless technology or whether they want their hands on the wheel, they want to feel that control. There are so many psychological and government factors here.

ANTHONY MASON: The other thing that`s-- that`s interesting is with all the hacks we`ve seen-- seen lately and so much computer electronics now in cars, you wonder if a car can get hacked.

DEREK THOMPSON: Right, yes. And they`re calling it a ransom ware. The (INDISTINCT)of a-- a hacker using software to control a car and then demand ransom in exchange for the person getting control of the car back. It`s again what`s (INDISTINCT) to say about this is that because the technology, itself, doesn`t really exist, we don`t know how easy it`s going to be for people to bypass that technology and hack the car themselves. But we have seen problems like this, you know, in-- in lots of other, you know, software cases as well, e-mails, et cetera.

VINITA NAIR: Still incredible to think that we`re already here. Derek Thompson, thank you so much.


VINITA NAIR: Up next, moving into the White House. We`ll show you how you could live here and you don`t have to be elected president to do it.



(Begin VT)

DONALD TRUMP: She is trigger happy and very unstable.

HILLARY CLINTON: It`s like he`s living in his own celebrity reality TV program.

VINITA NAIR: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in no holds bar battle to win the White House. But there might just be a consolation prize for whoever comes up short in November. ZThis thirteen thousand square foot home built to look just like the executive mansion. The home, which features six bedrooms and seven full bathrooms, goes up for auction on October 6. While it`s not an exact replica, this home does have some things that the real White House doesn`t, including a dance studio and a swim-up bar. The home, built in 1989, was remodeled in 2004 by the current owners who added wings on both sides to make it look more like the White House. And to top it off, the home is located in McLean, Virginia, just fifteen miles away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

(End VT)

VINITA NAIR: And what`s also interesting about the house is that they put a list price of 4. 99 million but then they said sort of bid what you want. We`ll see what comes in. I`m curious to see how much it will go for.

ANTHONY MASON: I like the fact you don`t have to run for the office to get the house.

VINITA NAIR: I thought that you would like the swim-up bar?

ANTHONY MASON: I love the swim-up bar.

All right. After more than twenty years, the NFL returns to L.A. The Rams are set to play their first home game since moving back to Los Angeles and the fans who waited more than two decades for the team to come home are ready for some football.

For some of you, your local news is next. The rest, stick around. You`re watching CBS THIS MORNING: SATURDAY.



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