At this point, most people are familiar with ordering a car through an app. In fact, for many people, it is now an integral part of the routine for going out.
What’s more, many individuals (particularly millennials) are opting to forego car ownership and instead rely on Ubers and Lyfts for when they need to get around. Gone are the days when you had to spend time standing at a taxi rank, attempting to hail a car from the street.
As with everything, technology continues to develop. So, the next step is taxis driving themselves. Once driverless taxi fleets become the norm, there is a good chance that they will impact many areas of passengers’ lives. After all, automobiles are integral to our daily lives, so it can only be expected that the switch to driverless taxis will transform lives in many diverse ways.
From regained hours to more comfortable urban centers, reduced need for car ownership to safer roads, read on for four ways driverless taxis will change your life.
1. Regained hours
In the U.S., statistics show that the average American spends around 101 minutes per day driving – with most of this time due to commuting to work.
Once driverless taxis become an option, it is more likely that individuals can reap some of the benefits of flexible working, as they can be getting a head-start on their to-do list while commuting. This, in turn, leads to less time required in the office and regained hours to be doing other things. Alternatively, you can use the recovered hours to read, sleep, or relax on your journey to and from work.
On the other hand, it will be more common to have retailers and other businesses bring their goods to you. No longer will customers have to go to retail locations as driverless technology extends to vehicles large enough to be used as mobile offices, stores, etc.
Imagine ordering a selection of clothes from your favorite store. Quickly, the pieces will show up in a driverless taxi at your home, enabling you to try them on, see what works for you, and then send back what you don’t want at the end of the session. The same can be done for on-demand mobile groceries, mobile gyms, and package deliveries.
2. An enhanced atmosphere in urban centers
One of the most significant benefits of driverless taxis is that they will decrease the number of people commuting via their own car. Fewer cars on the road means increased space for people to walk and bike safely at any time in the day. As driverless cars will drive with greater precision, streets can be made narrower, with more room specifically for pedestrians and cyclists.
This will lead to an enhanced atmosphere in urban centers – as the focus of urban centers will shift from automobiles to pedestrians. For example, it will be easier and safer to cross the street, as driverless cars are more apt to see pedestrians. Therefore, you will be able to cross the street where (and when) it is convenient, rather than having to look for a stop sign.
Plus, as cars will be spending more of their time on the road and less time parked, the need for parking lots and parking garages will also be reduced. This then allows urban centers to utilize those spaces for other uses, such as parks and gathering areas.
3. Reduced need for car ownership
Most people agree that, over time, the introduction of driverless cars will fully abolish the necessity for car ownership. Not having to purchase a car means more considerable savings for individuals as they will no longer need to pay for maintenance, insurance, and the vehicle itself. Instead, individuals will probably opt for a subscription service for driverless taxis that includes the size and style of vehicle that you generally require.
That being said, car ownership may continue in rural areas, where it may still be inconvenient to arrange a driverless taxi. However, on the whole, the number of people who own cars and the number of vehicles owned per family will be drastically reduced – a topic of great importance that will be discussed at a future mobility conference.
At the moment, most people shudder at the thought of utilizing a taxi as their principal mode of transportation as it isn’t economically feasible. However, once the driver’s salary is removed, driverless taxi fare will likely be lowered to a more economical ‘public transport’ amount. So, all in all, the emergence of driverless taxis is likely to bring increased savings for all.
4. Safer roads
On the whole, driverless transportation is going to help create safer streets in all locales. One of the core components of driverless technology is ensuring that roads are safe and the driving codes are adhered to. Plus, once human motorists are removed from the driving equation, fewer traffic fatalities is the most obvious consequence.
For example, instead of putting themselves and others at risk, individuals can utilize driverless technology to ensure that drunk driving incidents and other user error accidents are a thing of the past.
Consider this; traffic accidents claim more than 30,000 lives a year in the U.S.; but, with the emergence of driverless technology, experts believe that that number will fall by up to 90 percent. Furthermore, once police don’t have to be concerned with driving incidents, they can then focus their resources on more serious crimes.
There is no denying that driverless taxis will probably have many positive impacts on our lives, as they will significantly increase both mobility and safety for everyone involved. While it may not be commonplace to take a driverless taxi for a few more years, it isn’t too far away. And, technology is only going to continue to improve.
If you are interested in learning more about driverless taxis (and autonomous vehicles in general), consider attending the upcoming Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport.
During this conference, you will learn more about future mobility alternatives, including self-driving transportation. Everyone will leave with a deeper understanding of the technology involved and how it will enhance people’s lives.
Ahmed Bahrozyan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Transport Agency – Roads and Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates which is responsible for providing for the needs of public transport in the city. He is also Chairperson of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport organizing committee.