With the idea of having the car do all the usual chores – take us to work, cinema, shopping mall and back – now seriously out of Sci-Fi territory, most analysts and auto experts thought autonomous vehicles would be the cure for congestion.
These claims are founded on the idea that three new age auto mobility sectors will converge and bring a transportation revolution – the area of connected, autonomous and shared vehicles. That means fewer people would actually own the car, instead using an app to call for a ride or simply share ownership with others of an autonomous vehicle. Others are beginning to note a flaw in the theory – if all people that need cars now still need them in the future, then we would have the same number of vehicles, only they are autonomous. The other point against the idea that smart cars will alleviate traffic is that anyone who can’t use a vehicle today for various reasons will be able to in the near future because the AI will do the driving.
“These [technologies—automation, electrification, and shared mobility] will completely change us as a society. I think it’ll have the same transformational change as the introduction of the automobile,” notes Shannon McDonald, an architect, assistant professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and expert in mobility planning. “For years, planners have been fighting for a 1 or 2 percent change in transportation mode (less driving). With this technology, everything goes out the window. It’s a nightmare,” adds Don Elliott, a zoning consultant.