One of the most prominent benefits offered by self-driving or driverless vehicles is safety. Statistics suggest that a large share of the car accidents takes place due to human error. Thus, by not allowing humans to operate cars and replacing the regular vehicles with driverless units streets can be made much safer.
Now, scientists are saying that safety is not the only prominent advantage offered by these driverless vehicles. According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, these cars will also contribute to the environment significantly by reducing vehicle emissions.
The study authors Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Samveg Saxena and Jeffrey Greenblatt have modeled a future where autonomous taxis or driverless cabs powered by electricity will be roaming around the streets. Those cabs will be available in different sizes and would be assigned the job of picking up a particular number of passengers for a given ride.
The authors have written that the autonomous taxis will most likely be deployed according to the occupancy need of a given trip. The system would be cost effective both for the owners and passengers. While the operating costs would become lower for the owners, the passengers will need to pay just for the number of seats and storage they are using.
According to the researchers, smaller vehicles will help in saving energy and there will also be efficiency gains from two additional sources. As these vehicles will most likely be run by electricity, they will be powered from a renewable energy source; in addition, they will be covering more distance every year. The combination of these two factors will make more miles clean-powered.
All these qualities of the robo-cabs constitute a really lucrative business case, which means, these vehicles have great chances of gaining “rapid early market share.”
According to the study authors, by 2030, the autonomous taxis might be significantly cleaner both than the current cars and the projected hybrids of that year. After analyzing the findings of their study, Saxena and Greenblatt have concluded that there will be an emission reduction of 87-94% over cars driven currently. The emission reduction over future hybrids, on the other hand, would be 63-82%.
Experts have described the findings of the study as exciting additions to the modern-day analyses that explore the role of automated and advanced connected vehicles.