CHAPTER 6: INTELLIGENT MACHINES
AS I SAT in the cockpit of a Tesla roadster for the first time, I was struck by the compact feel of the car and the tight steering wheel. Applying the gas for the first time reminded me of the feel of a golf cart: Push the accelerator and you lurch forward. Take your foot off the accelerator and you immediately begin to slow. There is really no need for brakes. The car almost seems to anticipate every move from the driver, whether it is slowing into a curve or accelerating through a bend; the car simply responds.
It was 2009, and I was visiting Denmark for the first time in my life. Copenhagen? Nah. My first trip was to Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark. It has one of the largest industrial harbors in Northern Europe, seeing 8,000 ships a year docking. Aarhus is a vibrant area of innovation around IT, life sciences, and nanotechnology, and is perhaps best known for research and innovation in the environment, energy, and science.
I was in Aarhus to visit Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. While Vestas has been challenged through the years by General Electric, Sinovel (in China), Siemens, and others, it always seems to retain a position at or very near the top of the rankings of wind turbine manufacturers. Talking with the engineers at Vestas, I quickly realized that this is not a job; it’s a passion, a hobby, and in most cases, a love for clean energy and innovation that drives the team.
Wind energy has never ...