Ever realized that before you can expect autonomous cars (AVs) to take over, you will at least need to phase out conventional, manually operated cars, and probably need overlaying grid control? All of this is at least ten years away yet, if ever. Self-driving vehicles will be limited to campuses, industrial parks and gated communities. As long as there are human drivers on the road, the two won’t mix. It may at least take 25 years for driverless cars to achieve ubiquity. That will happen when ALL new cars have a prescribed, standardized level of autonomy and the old existing cars slowly get junked, then eventually banned from the road. Which is difficult since having control yourself is practically a Constitutionally protected right, particularly in the land of the V8.
A lot will need to happen before AVs can be considered safe. Intersections will have to be changed/improved/standardized. ‘Road anomalies’ may have to be removed, not to confuse the drive systems. It’s going to be a long, slow and very costly process. Don’t be surprised if AV developers drop out simply because they won’t see any realistic return on investment for decades. So, until that time, experts actually predict the opposite: slow-moving, cautiously maneuvering AVs will contribute to more congestion, which may even get worse when they are used as ride-hail providers want them deployed: constantly on the move, in search of the next customer, avoiding having to pay parking fees.
Developments like the Cruise Origin make things even worse. I see them as unnecessary big blocks of rolling real estate, out to invade even more precious public space. We need a new transport mode, between micro-mobility means such as bicycles and scooters on one side, and cars on the other. It will benefit getting affordable zero-emission vehicles (no need for subsidizing), better energy- and space efficiency, autonomous operation, as well as improve pedestrian/cyclist safety. Want to know more? Go to smart-for-three.com.
Cheers, Ralph Panhuyzen @NextGenEV