Despite increasing expert warnings, dangerous incidents, fatal accidents, investigations, lawsuits, and recalls (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), Autonomous Vehicle (AV) fans and proponents still think they are awesome. What will they think now that a new study has determined that AVs will likely cause MORE pollution and traffic congestion?
From The Conversation:
Driverless cars won’t be good for the environment if they lead to more auto use
January 28, 2022 8.28am EST
For years, self-driving car technology has remained tantalizingly just beyond the horizon. Bold predictions notwithstanding, fully automated vehicles still haven’t appeared in showrooms. But the technology appears poised for a leap forward in 2022.
Companies including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda are bringing so-called Level 3 AVs to market that will let drivers take their hands off the wheel under specific conditions, and virtually every major auto manufacturer is testing self-driving systems.
Automated vehicles hold tremendous promise. Cars that handle most or all of the driving taskscould be safer than human drivers, operate more efficiently and open up new opportunities for seniors, people with disabilities and others who can’t drive themselves. But while attention has understandably focused on safety, the potential environmental impacts of automated vehicles have largely taken a back seat.
We study automated vehicle technologies and how consumers are likely to use them. In two recent studies, our research teams found two creative ways to assess the real-life impacts that automated vehicles could have on the environment.
Analysis of the world, from experts
By analyzing drivers’ use of partially automated vehicles and simulating the expected impact of future driverless vehicles, we found that both automated vehicle types will encourage a lot more driving. This will increase transportation-related pollution and traffic congestion, unless regulators take steps to make car travel less appealing.