Preface. There’s no need to actually worry about how automated vehicles will be used and their potential congestion, energy use, and whether there are enough rare earth minerals to make them possible, because they simply can never be fully automated, as explained in this post, with articles from Science, Scientific American, and the New York Times: “Why self-driving cars may not be in your future“.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ]
Mervis, J. December 15, 2017. Not so fast. We can’t even agree on what autonomous, much less how they will affect our lives. Science.
Joan Walker, a transportation engineer at UC Berkeley, designed a clever experiment. Using an automated vehicle (AV) is like having your own chauffeur. So she gave 13 car owners in the San Francisco Bay area the use of a chauffeur-driven car for up to 60 hours over 1 week, and then tracked their travel habits. There were 4 millennials, 4 families, and 5 retirees.
The driver was free. The study looked at how they drove their own cars for a week, and how that changed when they had a driver.
They could send the car on ghost trips (errands), such as picking up their children from school, and they didn’t have to worry about driving or parking.
The results suggest that a world with AVs will have more traffic:
- the 13 subjects logged 76% more miles
- 22% were ghost errand trips
- There was a 94% increase in the number of trips over 20 miles and an 80% increase after 6 PM, with retirees increasing the most.
- During the chauffeur week, there was no biking, mass transit, or use of ride services like Uber and Lyft.
Three-fourths of the supposedly car-shunning millennials clocked more miles. In contrast to conventional wisdom that older people would be slower to embrace the new technology, Walker says, “The retirees were really excited about AVs. They see their declining mobility and they are like, ‘I want this to be available now.’”
Due to the small sample size she will repeat this experiment on a larger scale next summer.