Yo. You Luddite Idiots. Self driving electric cars STILL need roads

Self-driving cars might make your future commute a lot more pleasant, but they won’t eliminate traffic.

Executives like Google cofounder Sergey Brin have touted traffic reduction as one of the many benefits of having self-driving cars on the road. The idea is that autonomous cars will eliminate accidents caused by human error, a major contributor to traffic.

But US experts say the vehicles’ impact on traffic will either be minimal or negative.

Basically we’re all going to end up driving so defensively that the whole road will be full of nannas.  

But it gets better.  We’re now going to have more cars on the road.  Why?

For example, many companies are interested in programming autonomous cars to run errands or pick up packages, but these efforts could increase traffic by multiplying the number of zero-occupant cars, or “zombie cars,” on the road, Fulton said.

Massachusetts lawmakers have already proposed a tax on driverless vehicles to prevent zombie cars. The bill calls for a per-mile fee of at least 2.5 US cents.

Congestion could also worsen as companies like Lucid Motors explore designing self-driving vehicles around comfort, like installing reclining seats.

Consumers may opt to live farther outside of cities if they can commute in vehicles that allow them to sleep and relax. But that sprawl increases the number of people travelling in and out of cities during rush hour, Fulton said.

Self-driving cars can still contribute to congestion even if they operate as part of a ride-hailing network, like Uber.

Without the cost of a driver, Fulton said he worries self-driving Ubers or Lyfts will become so cheap there will be no financial incentive to opt for car-sharing services like UberPOOL.

“I think it’s going to take some kind of pricing system that discourages zero-occupant vehicles and also makes penalties for single-occupancy vehicles,” he said.

Oh yes.  Send your car out by itself and you’ll have to pay tax for clogging up the road.

Now matter how you look at it, we need more roads.  Not more cycleways.


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

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