- Friend or foe of the environment?
- Less cars, better cities — the rise of the car plan
- Robot cars are almost here
- You’ll never need to find a car park again
- Time spent in the car instead of time wasted
- The end of parking towers
1. Friend or foe of the environment?
The first priority is building New Urban eco-cities with enough trains, trams, and trolley bus systems to reduce the number of cars and car trips on the road in the first place. New Urbanism will increase our quality of life by reducing stress in traffic, and give us time to check our phones on the train instead. New Urbanism reduces obesity, depression, and smog. The air will be clean, the streets beautiful, and a sense of community will return. Yet we’ll still be able to catch a robot taxi to that place that’s awkwardly off the transport grid.
2. Less cars, better cities — the rise of the car plan
“Have we reached peak car?” asked The Guardian (April 2015). People are realising that using public transport in city living can be efficient, save money, and create a whole car-free lifestyle. For instance, do I really want to buy a new car at $30 000 just to watch it sit in a car park and depreciate 22 hours a day? That’s what the average car does 91% of the time. It sits there. That is an enormous investment in energy and materials and money locked up in a machine that just sits around most of the time.
If robot taxis become vastly cheaper because there’s no salary to pay (sorry taxi drivers), then that might help more people feel comfortable living without their own car. Hopefully people will be less anxious about adopting a train based way of life as New Urbanism creeps around more city centres.
3. Robot Cars are almost here: as NBF reports:-
- GM President Dan Ammann believes transportation will change more in the next five years than it did in the last fifty years.
- General Motors is investing $500 million and partnering with Lyft
- Ford is partnering with Google
- Consortium of German auto makers bought Nokia’s mapping assets
- Uber partnered with Carnegie Mellon robotics department and hired 50 of them into the company
- Tesla activated advanced driver assist and plans to technically have self driving cars safer than human driving within two years
- Toyota will activate data gathering on all of its cars to improve its self driving software by 2020
4. You’ll never need to find a car park again!
Face it, most outings by car start and finish in a vast concrete bunker that stinks of urine. It’s not just difficult to remember where you parked, sometimes it does not even feel safe! In just a few years, a robot car will drop directly outside the movies or restaurant or shops. Then you can enjoy your outing, and take a meandering walk with your friends. Interested in those shops around the corner? Enjoy your stroll — a car can catch up with you later. Your group grows, and decides to see a movie? “Hey Siri, van for 10 going to the cinemas?” Done. It will be there within minutes.
5. Time spent in transport, instead of wasted
I’ll quote straight from Templetons: (even though he seems to focus on spending time in the car itself, where I’m imagining time on the train with a short car trip either end).
As indicated, Americans drive some 2.4 trillion miles each year and spend at least 50 billion hours doing it. (This latter number is my own very rough estimate.) A robocar may eventually approach a level of mobile comfort similar to a train, with a nice seat, a wide desk, internet, a computer/TV and phone. This turns those hours into more productive, comfortable hours. At the national average salary of $37,000 per year (SSA) for a 2000-hour work year, I rate this time as worth roughly one trillion dollars per year.
6. The end of parking towers
Car parks are so tall because they have to make us pedestrians feel comfortable as we walk from the car to the lift. But as most electric cars are only half our height, and as robot cars will park only to charge themselves will mostly come to get us where we are, future underground car parks may fit double the cars. Service technicians can scoot around on low bikes if checking for problems.