There are always two sides of a coin. Self driving cars might offer lesser traffic accidents, smarter navigation and eliminate the need of finding parking space. However, a study conducted by University of Leeds, University of Washington and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the impact of autonomous vehicles on energy demands in 2050 painted a different picture. The study published in Transportation Research Part A.
With all the good things that autonomous cars have to offer, it makes them a lot more attractive and such more and more people will want to purchase them. This could lead to an overcrowding on the streets unless if they are shared.
As self driving cars do not need a human to drive it, therefore people will be able to work, relax or even hold a meeting in the car while commuting. Distance is no longer an issue and as such people are able to live farther from the place where they stay. On top of that the people who usually take high speed trains will want to opt to purchase an autonomous vehicle for privacy and convenience reason. Elderly and disabled people who could not drive a car previously might want to purchase a driverless car too.
Don MacKenzie, assistant professor for the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington and one of the study’s co-author said that a widely used, on-demand ride sourcing system with appropriately sized vehicles is key to realizing autonomy and freedom without everyone having a car in their garage. They also added that the size of the vehicle could be matched to the needs of each specific trip, so there was no more energy wasted on moving around a five- to eight-passenger vehicle just to transport one person.
The idea of having a robo-taxi for transporting more people around rather than only one person is quite an interesting idea. However this system needs to have a fully autonomous technology and everyone needs to use it in order for it to work. If these two things can be achieve therefore, there is no need to own our own autonomous vehicles.