A few months ago, Singapore became the first country in the world to have driverless taxis. Yes, there’s only one car at the moment, so you’d probably have to wait in order to get on it, but it is expected to rise to 75 in 2018. Since then, driverless cars continues to be a more and more a trendy subject. So much that, this new technology is said to be going to disrupt the transport industry.
At the moment, we have to agree that these vehicles have the awkward look of a technology that is not quite mature. But nevertheless, industry experts predicts self-driving cars will dramatically change consumers’ traveling habits, making them shift from car ownership to on-demand robot-taxis. Autonomous cars could even create a new demand. For example, it will give more people access to mobility. Specifically, self-driving cars could give those above the age of 65 and younger than 15 the ability to travel a lot more than they are currently able to. But car companies must quickly evolve their business models if they really want to make profit on this new opportunity, like following the Tesla example.
Not only driverless cars will force the evolution of the car industries but it will change our cities. Three or four decades from now, our streets will look radically different from what they look right now. The main idea is that if driverless cars become more widely used than private cars, they could help reduce congestion, eliminate the need for parking spaces and improve road safety. But to achieve that, we have to change our cities. It is a quite challenging fact considering the fact that most of our biggest cities were built hundred years ago, and according to completely different needs. Currently, personally owned vehicles are parked about 95% percent of the time. As people will shift to driverless cars, one immediate impact would be less need for parking. By some counts, the total number of parking spaces in the US covers an area the size of Puerto Rico. Therefore, it is quite easy to understand what will be one of the first structure to disappear!
This leaves us with one last interrogation : who is going to take the blame in case of an accident with a driverless cars during the timing need to shift to a full driverless vehicle fleet? This issue of liability gained significance after an accident in October in Singapore involving one of the self-driving cars mentioned above, which crashed into a lorry as it was changing lanes. It will probably be studied case by case, but the question will probably be a nightmare for the insurance companies and their policies!
Last but not least, here’s a video that will show you the capabilities of the last Tesla, and how weird it can be!