Self-driving cars bring many promises: fewer deaths, less congestion, no more ugly parking lots. But a new study highlights a critical disclaimer: Unless these vehicles are shared, we’ll probably see an increase in driving.
The study published in Transportation Research Part A today by the University of Leeds, University of Washington, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, looks at the impact of autonomous vehicles on energy demands in 2050. And it points to a much more complicated future.
When it comes to driverless cars, there’s plenty of potential for energy savings: improved traffic flow, no circling for parking spaces, the ability to drive very close together to reduce drag (platooning), and manufacturing lighter vehicles due to lower crash risks.