No Need for Drivers Anymore?

Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles – Opportunities, Barriers and Policy Recommendations(32 page pdf, Kara M. Kockelman and Daniel J. Fagnant, Eno Center for Transportation, Oct. 22, 2013)

Also discussed here: Self-driving cars could transform driving, produce billions of dollars in benefits(Joan Lowy, Hamilton Spectator, Oct. 22, 2013)

And here: Top 5 Market Trends Driverless Cars Will Rev Up in the Future(Joe Levy,  Wired, Aug.14, 2013)

Today we look at autonomous or driverless cars (AV) which will be legal by 2015 laws recently enacted in California, Nevada and Florida. They could save over 20,000 lives per year lost to the 5.5 M car crashes in the USA due to driver error, in addition to over $447 B in economic savings from the 4.8 B hours of productivity lost due to traffic congestion. Although it may take a decade or more to bring the cost per car of the added technology (currently $100K) down to the point (say $1,500) where these savings can be realized, recognizing that overall ownership and operating costs would be less (i.e. 50% for  insurance and 13% for fuel).  If even a few cars are AVs, the smoother flow of traffic would benefit all the cars on the road. Removing the need for a driver would also bring mobility to those too young to drive, as well as to seniors (40 M over 65 now) who will be doubling in population over the next 20 years and to the disabled. Finally, if a car needs no driver and can be called up when needed, there is less need to own one but rather share it with others – an AV can make 5 times as many trips as a non AV.

driverless cars

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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