Abstract: Ideally, the
efficiency of self-driving vehicles will result in fewer cars on the road, but
an overall increase in utilization. Experts estimate there will be up to an 80%
reduction of the number of cars on any given highway. The efficiency of
self-driving cars will result in shorter travel times, less congestion in urban
environments, and a greatly reduced environmental impact as well. Large
quantities of urban land currently used for parking lots and roads have endless
potential to be reinvented with social utility as the priority. They can be
transformed into living spaces, parks, commercial ventures, etc.
biggest impact on cities may not be the automation of personal vehicles as we
know today, but rather the automation of all the other vehicles that are
necessary to support cities. Significant amounts of space are taken up by trash
trucks, delivery vehicles, trailers, taxis, and so on. The removal of these
vehicles from the everyday cycle of life would relieve a tremendous amount of
the burden on traffic as well as creating a friendlier atmosphere for
pedestrians. The reduction in cars will revolutionize city centers as well as
suburbs. In the city, automated mass transit systems combined with the removal
of significant numbers of vehicles and parking facilities will open up an
abundance of high value urban land previously unusable and often unattractive.
will be relocated to indoor locations and primarily outside of the city center.
The parking garages that do remain in core parts of the city will be vastly
more efficient. They will be able to store up to 60% more vehicles due to
smaller lanes, parking spots, and increased maneuverability. In the suburbs,
the safety of autonomous vehicles will create a much less hostile environment
and will lead to more walking spaces as well as common spaces that are
currently dominated by vehicles.
to AARP, more than 36 million elderly citizens have a valid driver’s license.
Over 80% of these elderly citizens live in areas that rely on individual
transportation methods to carry out everyday life. This segment of the
population is not typically mentioned or researched with regard to the
autonomous vehicle industry. However, it has the potential to be a sizeable
market within the industry, and the population is growing rapidly. For example,
there is a retirement community in Florida with over 70,000 residents and
hundreds of miles of roads and cart paths that would benefit greatly from
self-driving vehicles. This would be an excellent testing environment as well.
The community is self-contained and the vehicles would not have any need to
operate at more than 30 miles per hour.
major disadvantage that is predicted to accompany the spread of self-driving
cars, is urban sprawl. These vehicles will negate the most inconvenient factor
of not living in the core of cities; the time it takes to get there. City
planners and officials need to factor this in when discussing new legislature.
When self-driving cars are able to operate at their predicted potential, the
current 3-hour drive from San Antonio to Houston will be reduced to 45 minutes.
This level of accelerated transportation has far reaching potential
consequences that will add on to the already widespread issue of urban sprawl.
often overlooked issue on the subject is infrastructure. The effect on
infrastructure needs to be addressed and researched. Streets comprise anywhere
from 25-35% of the land area in any given city. At the end of the day, the
extent of the technological advancement we are able to implement relies on the
infrastructure we will be using them on. The current highway and road systems
were not designed with this revolution in mind. The continuous use of
autonomous vehicles at higher speeds will result in much greater wear and tear.
As is true for most modern revolutions, this is all dependent on engineers.
They build the world, and as a result, they create the parameters for the rest
of civilization to operate within.
has been one of the most highly discussed impact of self-driving vehicles.
After the owner of a Tesla Model S was killed in 2016 while his autopilot mode
was engaged, a media storm attacking the safety of self-driving cars descended
on the industry. Studies across the board show that despite having a long way
to go, the current technology existing for autonomous vehicles has already
greatly surpassed the level of safety we currently have with the wheel in our
own hands. Exceeding the speed limit was only responsible for 5% of accidents
on British roads. 47% of accidents were caused by a combination of failing to
look properly and failing to judge the other person’s speed properly.
Car-to-car sensors and communication between self-driving cars that are already
in use can reduce this type of accident by more than 90%. This number will
continue to diminish as more and more self-driving cars enter the driving
the internet of things and the world of data becomes increasingly connected,
the need for warehouses is being reduced. Complex supply chain data is being
used to efficiently move goods straight from production, to shipping vehicles,
and right to your front door, all without ever spending time in an intermediary
warehouse. As both autonomous vehicles and the study of supply chain progress
in the future, goods will be manufactured and delivered with complete autonomy.
When this process is no longer reliant on human time restraints, not only will
it be much more efficient, it has the potential to be much more discreet.
Autonomous vehicles delivering cargo could operate strictly on the most
industrial routes, as well as making the majority of delivery runs during the
night. Rivers and waterfronts used to serve as the industrial highways of our
nation and the world, but now we view them in a more pastoral light. Once we
begin to use and view roadways differently, a similar shift may occur within
our cities. This would transform how we design roadways, and open up city
centers, parkways, and riverfronts for human passengers.
vehicles have the potential to reshape city planning and real estate
development on a level that will rival that of the introduction of the car as
we know it. Although many believe that a new era of specialized buildings and
infrastructure will accompany the self-driving vehicle revolution hand in hand,
the most logical solution will likely be reutilizing existing spaces to better
serve cities and their residents. Moving parking out of cities will create
opportunities to increase the livability of dense urban areas. Designs for
garages of the future focus on mixed use including both commercial and
residential, while emphasizing a more efficient but reduced need for parking