Japanese is Subject-(wa)-object-(predicate), with verb terminator. You have wo and ga following direct and indirect objects; vocalized punctuation from ka and ne; and context-implied elements ("Run!" instead of "You run!" because no shit I mean you).
German is S-V-O until you get to questions, then it's V-S-DO-V instead of S-V-DO-V.
Mandarin is not hard to learn though. That's a dumb statement.
Most people want to learn a language by learning vocabulary. That's why we mock Asians for their stupid accents, and why everyone in Europe mocks the American tourist for talking like a retarded kid with a hatchet stuck in his skull: people just learn words, and try to force them into grammar structures that are familiar to them, and just remember sentences.
Languages are about sounds. I find all languages equally easy to learn--the more different, like Japanese and Mandarin, arguably easier--because there is just so much interesting to do. Learning to a high degree of skill requires focus on technique, recognized goals, and constant and immediate feedback; I am listening to the tonal inflections in a language, trying to determine if there are sounds my brain hasn't figured out yet (your brain will hear recognizable sounds and thus misinterpret them as other sounds), and trying to mimic them, and so I am applying this type of deliberate practice whenever I mimic any word in any language. As a result, I quickly learn to pronounce any language fluently--before I have a vocabulary much over 50 words or so.
Anyone else can do this. The first few times, you'll screw it up. It'll be hard to roll Rs, it'll be hard to follow Chinese tonal dialect, and you'll even completely fail to hear sounds in Russian that simply don't exist in English. After 20 or 30 hours, with no more than attentive listening to both a speaker and your own recital, you'll have adjusted a near-perfect diction. It's pretty much that easy, but it does require intentional focus.
This is why I always start with Pimsleur. There may be more effective ways to learn a language, but there are scant few ways to immerse yourself in the simple toil of speaking fluidly. Even the $10 sets with a few hours--some 5 CDs and 10 hours of lessons--is enough to set good pronunciation for most European languages, definitely for Japanese, and perhaps not for Mandarin or English. Japanese requires 108 sounds to produce properly; English requires over 8000, and it's not exactly known how many.
After a short while, Pimsleur becomes tedious. I like it, and continue to use it, but other methods of loading raw vocabulary and grammar are faster once you've grasped the language. I find I learn to speak a language *quickly*, because conversational grammar is small and attainable in a scant few hundred words; expanding that to 2000 words can be done readily by loading new vocabulary into your well-learned language.
Self-driving electric lorries would sharply reduce the cost of shipping by reducing fuel cost (my 12 gallon, 300-mile tank would cost $1.92 to fill if it were a Tesla electric Model S) and eliminating the wages of the truck driver for the 5000-mile, multi-day, cross-country journey.
Self-driving electric cars would eliminate ZipCar and Taxis. Like ZipCar, you could charter a vehicle for personal use, for $6/hr, insurance and fuel included; like taxis, the car is immediately returned to the service operator when you exit the vehicle. Drivers won't pay 8 hours to have the car parked 8 hours outside their job, and there won't be cabbies to demand any sort of salary at $7.25/hr (already more than the ZipCar costs in fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.).
There would be no need for buses for mass transit, as private cars are always instantly available. Only shuttle bus, such as for mass transportation of school children, would remain.
Logically, we understand the cost of anything is the cost of labor. There is little gold, and it requires many men working many hours to fetch a small amount of gold from the earth. The same can be said for oil, and for copper, and iron. Many men work to refine steel, to transport refined girders to building sites, to rivet building frames and attach concrete forms to support structures. Labor is the cost of everything.
On this logic, automation systems must require less labor to build, transport, and upkeep than the persons they replace. A self-driving car must cost roughly as much in labor to build and maintain as any other car, with any additional costs for sensors or software being altogether less across the life of the car than the labor cost of the operator driving a modern vehicle. That is to say: one cabbie driving over the useful life of a taxi fleet vehicle must cost more at his wages than the increase in cost and maintenance for a self-driving car.
Imagine a wage worker making $20/hr produces the factory sensor part, at a rate of 100 per hour through the operation of a machine. Each part thus costs 20 cents, plus the cost of the raw materials, plus maintenance cost of the machine to build them, plus the cost of a part divided by the average number of correct parts produced per one defective part. This may all come out to under a dollar, or reach as high as a thousand dollars; but, even then, a cab service running 16 hours per day would, between two drivers, spend more than that on wages in ten days. If the part does not break within ten days, and it is the only increase in cost, then this cab is cheaper to own and operate than a cab with a salaried driver.
Automation is the art of replacing the labor of 100 low-paid workers with the labor of 10 workers each making three times as much.
It's a legitimate point, but a poor example.
The car needs to also recognize hazards including pedestrians, animals, and drivers violating traffic law; if the car decides the intersection is safe to cross, and crosses illegal, it shouldn't hit anything anyway. Conversely, if the intersection is marked clear, and a driver crosses illegally, the car should recognize this. Humans often heuristically identify drivers not exhibiting a stopping behavior when approaching an intersection, projecting the driver will violate a stop sign or traffic signal; the car must do this as well.