Autonomous driving becomes a #1 priority of large car manufacturers, including Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford and many others, as well as other large companies like Google and Uber. The pace of progress in this area may extremely change the world very soon – read further for in-deep analysis carried by NextBigFuture.
New York city is known for many things, with yellow taxi cabs being among the most famous. However, the study of a Columbia University claims that a fleet of just 9,000 autonomous cars will allow Uber to replace all cabs in the NY. Moreover, passengers will have to wait for their self-driving Uber for just 36 seconds in average with a cost of $0,50 per mile. This is the level of convenience and cost reduction that would make car ownership meaningless, taking the majority of users away from public transport as well.
According to another study – by PwC – more than 107 million motor vehicles will be produced worldwide in 2020 (in comparison to 90 million cars produced in 2015). However, the rise of self-driving cars would mean that far fewer vehicles will be needed to fulfill the related tasks, like passenger commuting, travelling and delivering goods. PwC predicts staggering long-term effect of autonomous vehicles – for instance, reduction of number of vehicles on the road by 99% (from 245 million to 2.4 million vehicles). Special effect will be caused on labour market, since today there are from 50 to 100 million driving jobs globally, huge part of those might be eliminated in upcoming future – probably, in just 10-15 years.
However, autonomous cars will have a massive positive outcome. The highway capacity when using vehicle sensors alone (which is already happening – Tesla Autopilot is the brightest example) will be increased by about 43%. Vehicle to vehicle communication will increase the roads capacity by astonishing 273%. Concerning the vehicle number reduction this would result the complete elimination of traffic jams. Though, the more important effect is the traffic accidents reduction – Google claims their program to be capable of a 90% decrease, and the same value of reduced wasted commute time and energy.
The most exciting fact is that the future of transportation is already round the corner – major companies are not only working on their own self-driving projects, but already has working prototypes, or even technologies integrated in mass-produced products (e.g., Tesla). For instance, in the US nowadays more legal obstacles for self-driving scaling rather than technological ones.