Last updated May 20, 2019 at 11:03 am
A future of shared driverless cars could reduce the number of vehicles on the roads by 80%, says a transport expert.
Shared driverless cars could make roads safer, transport cheaper, and reduce vehicle numbers dramatically, according to a transport expert.
Work by Professor Hussein Dia from the Swinburne University Smart Cities Research Institute has suggested that more than 80% of cars could come off the road if fleets of shared, self-driving, electric vehicles become reality.
Dia is advising Australian road regulators on how to plan for this future.
In Australia, he said, data shows that peak car-sharing occurred in all major cities in roughly 2004, at least in terms of passenger-kilometres per capita. Increasing urbanisation, environmental awareness, and cost, all contributed to this fact.
Dia sees a future of fleets of shared self-driving vehicles accessed through apps powered by optimisation software calculating the most efficient route for multiple passengers.
Only 12% of cars required
In 2017, Dia’s team simulated what could happen to Melbourne if autonomous, taxi-like vehicles were available. They found that if the majority used self-driving shared vehicles, the number of vehicles on the road could drop between 43% and 88%.
“We can meet our demand for mobility using only 12% of the existing vehicle fleet,” he said. It could also free up as much as 83% of on-street parking and significantly lower carbon emissions, he noted.
The line will increasingly be blurred between the bus and a shared driverless car, he added. Ride-sharing is already much cheaper than taxis or single-passenger Ubers. If ride-sharing becomes common using driverless cars, Dia pointed out that the cost could come down by as much as 70%, bringing a ride-sharing service close to or below current public transport costs.
Dia also looks forward to a reduction in the 3,000 people that die daily in accidents caused by driver error globally. “We find that 90% of road accidents are due to human error, so it makes perfect sense to remove the driver, which is the key source of error.”