Leaving aside their obvious benefits such as drastically cutting down on fuel, self-driving cars can also help lower green house gas emissions by 90 percent, according to a recent report published in Popular Science.
The report, which is a based on a study led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists, also shows that electric powertrains can trim gasoline consumption in cars.
But the 90-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the most obvious benefit. Yet, scientists claim that we must replace the entire fleet of privately owned cars with autonomous vehicles, if we want to see it happen.
Researchers also noted in their paper that this solution is also the cheapest although the average price of a self-driving car (about $150,000) may point out otherwise. Study authors said that any self-driving car can pay for itself within 5 years.
And that’s because several reasons like cutting fuel costs, removing costs a human driver involves, and the fact that autonomous cars can run on the roads 24/7 which translates into more passengers and more fares from those passengers.
Passengers may also benefit from that not only taxi app firms like Uber and Lyft because fees may go down.
Nevertheless, critics said that such claims are unreal because current technology self-driving vehicles employ involves limited ranges. Yet, study authors explained that a car that needs to recharge can easily be replaced by another car.
But that can happen only in cities and towns where the distance they need to travel is not larger than the range they can support. But in two to three years, self-driving electric cars with a 200-mile range are slated to reach showrooms. So, the need to recharge them every 8 to 12 hours as current taxi drivers do will no longer exist.
Yet, while making assumptions the study took into account some technologies that won’t be available sooner than 2025 or more. In addition, consumers may also be an issue because they cannot be persuaded in bulk to ditch their private cars.
Tesla Motors, Mercede-Benz and Nissan among others pledged that they would release fully functional electric cars for public use by 2020. But the companies also said that the cars would still need a human driver nearby the wheel in case of emergency. Industry analysts suggest that fully autonomous cars may not be available until 2030.
And even after that moment it would take more than a decade for the new cars to gain momentum within the automotive industry.
Image Source: Extreme Tech