As AVs become more common in society, we are going to start seeing some big changes. Some of these changes could be really bad, like extra VMT making congestion a lot worse. But here we get to discuss all the good that could come with AVs! So lets go through some of the cool stuff we can look forward to:
Cool Thing #1) Mobility for All
Did you know that:
- There are around 75 million children in the US, 23 Million of which are between the ages of 12 and 17.
- There are around 50 million disabled people in the US, and around 6 million of them have difficulty getting the transportation they need.
Imagine having low cost rides that don’t need a driver readily available. Suddenly all those that need a ride but can’t get one will be able to move about freely.
A little personal story I like to tell: I was in the waiting room at a car dealership the other day talking to two older gentlemen. They were cousins and one was very talkative while the other had a cane and was somewhat quiet. We talked about AVs in the future (its fun to talk about!) and the talkative gentleman told me: “I don’t trust em – there’s no way I’d get in one” and looking at his cousin he said “and I know you wouldnt get in one either!” The cousin, suddenly showing his first set of enthusiasm for the conversation replied “Oh you bet I would! Where am I going otherwise?” And it was a great reminder for me that AVs are going to improve the lives of millions.
Cool Thing #2) System Gains
Have you ever used select language for your fellow driver because you felt that they had made an incorrect decision? Imagine that with an Autonomous system in control, that doesn’t happen. That means vehicles merging smoothly on the highway, vehicles actually moving when the light turns green (as opposed to staying stopped while the distracted driver checks his/her phone) and, probably most important of all, less wrecks! Every time there is a wreck on the highway, the resultant congestion lasts for miles and extended periods of time that jam up the entire roadway system. So in short the good comes from suddenly everyone being able to access car mobility (we are already seeing some of this with the ridesourcing entities) and the system gains that should come along: If computers are driving cars, theoretically they wont do all the terrible things regular
Austin drivers do. Additionally, if they are connected (the best autonomous vehicles are connected vehicles!) they could access a whole set of performance gains, such as coordinate movements like platooning and perhaps even eliminate stop lights.
Check out this amazing video that explains a lot of issues with system traffic and how AVs could solve it:
Cool Thing #3) Things get Cheaper
Currently there is technology that is either already commercially available or being protoyped to automate every link in the supply chain. Put them all together and they could look like this:
There it is, a totally automated supply chain. That means taking crops from farm fields and putting them on tables around the country without a human touching them. If you eliminate humans from the supply chain you could make movement of goods very cheap – and that would translate to low prices!
Of course, there’s the whole thing about eliminating those jobs, but if we do it right, things should turn out ok.
So there are three ideas of the benefits that come with AVs – of course there are many more, like the elimination of parking, keep checking around the site and I’ll try to explain more!