April 19, 2018—A recent article by NBC News looked at the unique ways in which driverless vehicles could potentially change life and speculated that Americans, for starters, will be less likely to own a car. With fleets of autonomous vehicles offering relatively cheap, convenient transportation, fewer consumers are likely to spend thousands on purchasing their own vehicle, the article contended.
“We’re moving to a future where people don’t own cars,” said Dr. Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis. “You’ll have a subscription service, maybe, that emphasizes smaller vehicles, or you might want a cheaper service where it’s a van.”
Among the other ways that society could be altered by AVs, in the view of NBC News:
- Urban centers will evolve as driverless cars inspire changes to cities’ infrastructure; since AVs will likely move with greater precision than human-driven vehicles, streets could be narrower and more space could be dedicated for pedestrians.
- Businesses could essentially come to consumers, in the form of vans or trucks that are large enough to be used as mobile offices, or stores.
- More people will be able to live independently, as driverless cars could offer greater mobility to those who have trouble getting around due to disability, illness, or advanced age.
- Donor organs could be in short supply, due to the simple fact that 13 percent of the organs made available for donation in recent years came from people who died in vehicle crashes, and driverless vehicles, in theory, will be safer and result in less accidents.
- And, finally, people may rethink their living arrangements, as longer commutes to work may seem more acceptable when sleeping can occur while riding in a driverless vehicle.