With autonomous vehicles and connected cars already starting to hit the roads of cities across the globe, the potential benefits and challenges of this mobility revolution are being scrutinized in increasing detail.
Research from Ohio University has highlighted just some of the potential ways that driverless cars could improve our lives – whether it’s by being more environmentally friendly, improving our cities or being much safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Autonomous vehicles are, to all intents and purposes, software on wheels. The technology involved in a driverless car of the future will be such that each vehicle can be optimized to ensure fuel consumption is as efficient as possible. So much so that new-age cars are expected to help reduce emissions by 60%.
With the potential for human error removed, self-driving cars will reduce instances of accidents caused by driver error, drunk driving or distracted drivers.
Once driverless cars become commonplace on our streets, it is expected that accidents are likely to fall by a whopping 90%.
Time is money
Average commuter times in metropolitan areas in the US are currently estimated to be around 27 minutes each way.
With humans no longer involved in driving, commuters are likely to save up to an hour every day – time that will undoubtedly have many spin-off benefits from wellbeing to boosting the economy.
Every year, people living in American urban areas spend almost 7 billion hours in traffic, waste 3.1 billion gallons of fuel and lose around $160 billion due to traffic congestion.
With driverless cars able to access up-to-the-minute data to help monitor traffic, as well as digital maps and other tools, they will be able to determine the fastest, most efficient route possible. All of this will result in less traffic, less congestion and less time and fuel waste.
Driverless cars will play a key role in the future of smart cities, and they will even impact the way city infrastructure is designed and built. Today, parking lots require cars to be parked with enough space left between each vehicle for the driver to get out after they have parked their vehicle. Self-driving cars will negate the need for this by parking themselves, meaning it will be possible for cars to be stacked more closely alongside each other.
It is estimated that driverless cars can be parked with 15% less space – resulting in significant space-saving for urban areas across the globe.
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