With all the fuss about self driving cars at the forefront of the industry, will the idea ever really take off? There has been plenty of funding put into the concept, not only here in the United Kingdom but all over the world. It seems that the race to manufacture the first fully functioning self driving car has not reached the finishing line just yet.
Want Driving Lessons last reported to you in January this year about the trials happening in the UK. But now there has been new developments in the form of self driving ‘TaxiBots’ and ‘AutoVots’! This could well be the transport of the future, in the move to take cars off the roads while easing congestion, according to a think tank. Could this be a good idea? After all, wouldn’t these vehicles still in effect be ‘cars’? Well according to the forward thinkers, the aim is to cut the number of cars on the UK’s roads by 90% in larger towns and cities. Cutting down not only on congestion but also pollution and other damage to the environment. Something we can all agree would be a good thing.
So how exactly would the ‘auto cabs’ work? A study by the International Transport Forum (ITF) discovered that only 35% of the current number of cars would really be needed during peak rush hour times. This is to ferry around the same number of people to and from work each day. So this would mean that a huge percentage of apparently ‘useless’ traffic would be cut from the roads.
What is a TaxiBot?
“TaxiBots are self-driving autonomous vehicles that can be shared by several passengers travelling in the same direction. AutoVots are self-driving car share vehicles that pick up and drop off passengers in the most economical and time-effective way.”
The ITF claims that a switch to TaxiBots and AutoVots would also do away with the need for on-street parking. That would mean 20% of all road space could be used for other purposes. Premises and pedestrians alike could benefit from a safer more spacious walk way in some areas.
But here’s the thing: How would people feel about sharing their ride to work with a group of strangers? After all one of the main reasons to drive is the privacy, away from having to use public transport. Surely the idea of TaxiBots and AutoVots would be a glorified version of buses and trains? Only time will tell how passengers will react to this new way of getting to work. But then there are the practical implications too…
For example, the number of miles covered in a self-driving future of TaxiBots and AutoVots would actually increase. This is because the vehicles would need to make more encircling journeys to drop off all of their passengers rather than a simple one way system. The ITF admits this could have a negative environmental impact if fleets of these vehicles used traditional engines. As a result, a move to electric vehicles to compensate for this is recommended if the idea comes to pass in time. Want Driving Lessons will keep you posted!