Look at Google’s adorable autonomous car up there. Isn’t it cute? It looks as harmless as a wireless mouse or a koala wearing a fez. Precious.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.thecarconnection.com
Autonomous cars are flavor of the day and may be for a while, because despite the fact that you are reading this, most people are not talking about driverless cars.The tail will continue and this is good, because it not only drives conversation, but it helps us understand the future implications on society, which will not all be rosy on day one, but could be wonderful farther down the road.
I am convinced that a new world is coming from the motor industry and it is going to have many unexpected side effects, many which may balance each other out.
If autonomous cars connected to ‘the grid’ obey the road laws and don’t speed, then there is a possibility of a major decrease in the number of accidents. Allow the navigation system and the real time travel information from the DOT to optimize the road network and more cars could still mean a reduction in traffic congestion.
There will be a decrease in speeding and traffic fines. Some councils apparently gain up to 30% of their revenue from speeding fines. There will be a decrease in demand for panel-beaters and other auto repair services. There will be a decrease in car insurance revenue but also a decrease in payouts.There will be less injuries and deaths from motor accidents. Remember back in 1902 (or so) when the first pedestrian was hit and killed by a car in England and they said, “This must never happen again!”
Traffic congestion is an interesting one because I suspect that there will be a tipping point. For starters ‘real drivers’ might well get frustrated with a small number of driverless cars, getting in their way and stopping them from speeding. In Germany last month, driving on the freeways, the average speed in the fast lane was around 30kmph over the limit, in other countries around 20kmph (scientifically guessed). A number of those drivers are going to behave erratically as they try to drive around the driverless cars and their irrational behaviour caused by frustration, could confuse those intelligent cars causing incidents such as nose to tail incidents.
Once the tipping point has been reached however, a critical mass of autonomous cars, driving at optimal speeds, merging like a zip, could help increase throughput on highways because they are behaving exactly the way traffic planning engineers would have them do and it will become very difficult for human drivers to find a way past them. If there were for example 30% autonomous cars on a motorway, the other cars would be pretty much forced into line. We don’t have to have 50+% autonomous cars for it to make a significant impact. The irony is that because cars will be driving the way the engineers wanted them to in the first place, they could be driving slower, but reaching their destination sooner.
Other benefits? How about the hospitality and entertainment industry. This industry has suffered because of drink driving restrictions. If you were able to use a driverless car AND ownership was cheaper than using a Taxi or Uber service, then you can go and enjoy yourself with a few drinks without ever worrying about being over the limit.That has huge potential to drive people back into the entertainment districts with boosts to urban economies and drive them back home again safely.
Remember the old saying, my car knows it’s way home? Well now it truly will.