1. Cars can go off and park somewhere further away. Cruising around the city isn't free (fuel, maintenance, risk of damage)
2. We should be able to get more density out of our existing parking lots if cars can park each other in and shuffle around to let each other out.
3. Cars can go do something more useful (run errands, work for ride share).
2. While the passenger is at work, the self-driving car will be giving rides to other people, or delivering packages and meals (not parking or driving around empty).
3. Greater car sharing means fewer parked cars, lower demand for parking and hence lower cost to park.
Says who? I certainly don't want random people inside my car when I'm not around. Don't really feel like having "For a good time call 867-5309" and a drawing of a penis gouged into my center console, and having the seatbacks tagged with magic marker. ("We're sorry to hear that, sir. We have credited your account with a $25 credit for your trouble.")
130 million people drive to work every day in the USA. Something like 115 million cars. There are maybe 200,000 taxis in the USA. If we put 1 million cars to work, we've still got 114 million sitting idle, or rather, doing loops around the block because it's cheaper.
> Greater car sharing
Says who? You can already carpool and have ALL of the advantages of a self-driving car, it's just Larry driving the car instead of Waymo. But as everyone on HN will tell you, they don't want to carpool, they want to ride alone. Riding with others is what poor people do.
You also have the economics totally backward. Your assertion is that driving will be better in every way - easier personally, less congestion, cheaper parking - and as a result, there will be less driving? Utterly backwards. Make something cheaper easier or better, and we use more of it, not less.
It's not your car, it's Waymo's car.
Waymo outfits the cars, provides continuous monitoring and support, operates a fleet of field techs for repair and cleaning, takes responsibility for insurance and regulatory compliance, provides dispatch and routing services, collects payments, etc.
The cost is justified by high utilization of the fleet. The economics don't work for a single car doing nothing 95% of the time.
Why would anyone want to own their own self-driver?
> Utterly backwards. Make something cheaper easier or better, and we use more of it, not less.
Yep, it's impossible to make anything cheaper, easier or better, because it instantly goes to shit when people want more of it.
Because they don't live in a large city for example. It's easier to cover a known average of rides with a million of users than when you have a town of 2000. You have a normal day where many projects walk to work, you get a local event where 200 people may turn to, you get forest fire where 2000 people need to get out.
Once you've implemented congestion pricing, riding with others is what 99% of people will be doing and the stigma is gone. If you don't want to ride in a car with graffiti etc. there'll be an option to order a better quality of ride.
As another commented, it will be a very interesting optimization problem to figure out how to efficiently use the underutilized time of the fleet. There are a lot of things which are done at peak times now only because the owner of the car has to physically drive it there that could easily be moved to non-peak.
As for the uniform thing, you are right, but it can be restated in economic terms as the car being more expensive to use during certain times of the day -- so people will have an incentive to go to work in off-peak hours (which will be an option not available to everybody, but the more that do so, the less the premium cost will be) thus smoothing demand.
Exactly. The salient questions are whether, at the point of minimum demand during the day, there would be more unutilized self-driven vehicles than the current state of unutilized owner-driven vehicles, and if at the point of maximum demand, there would be more or less vehicles on the road than today.
Intuitively, the answer is "no" to the first question, since cars used for commuting in the morning and evening could be used for deliveries during the day.
I don't know about the second question, and this probably has more to do with shifting trips from public transit to self-driven cars (not cruising to avoid paying to park).
This research doesn't consider the reduction in parking demand, the reduced cost to park, the densification from reclaiming thousands of hectares of parking spaces, offsetting traffic of current delivery vehicles, etc.
The illusion of control is a powerful one, and I think many people will choose to own and park a personal car near to their work so that they can get in it and get stuck in traffic immediately, rather than waiting at work while the car returns through said traffic.
If they do, it will be theirs, not doing random shit for who knows who.
Assuming the pricing works, most people will just use a car service.
I don't believe that for one second. Assume that the average car costs $523/mo (and if you wanted a lower car payment it's totally possible to get a cheap car with a lower monthly payment). That means the daily cost of the car is $17.19 (523*12/365).
An uber (which is often less than a taxi and way more convenient) costs about $15 to get to work if you live nearby (it would be closer to $30-40 if you lived in the suburbs), and another $15 to get back home (possibly more because of surge pricing, depending on when you leave and local events such as sports games etc). This is assuming you never want to drive to get groceries, visit friends, etc... That's another $10-15 each way, every time.
Sure you don't have to pay for gas but there's no way the <$1/ride increase will account for that. I suppose you might have to pay for parking, but even then you could just buy a cheaper car ($400/mo car payments aren't exactly unheard of) and use the difference to pay for monthly parking.
a) the uber driver has much higher marginal cost on each drive than a self driving car because of the human in the drivers seat and
b) the self driving car is likely to have a much higher fixed cost than the taxi with a human driver because of the expensive computer, software and new hardware like lidar.
So self driving cars are in my best guess going to have very high fixed costs with very low marginal costs, which means there is a large opportunity for a “renters” market
These will become commodities when the technology matures.
But if I had something fancy, like a Tesla Model X, the daily cost (similar parameters as before) works out to $68/day, and then I could save money by using Uber.
Of course, that's not really a fair comparison because the Tesla is much nicer than anything Uber is likely to pick me up in, so the Prius is a much more honest comparison.
From this statement it seems like you either don't work in a city, or live outside of a large metropolitan area. There's little chance you're leaving stuff in your car routinely in a large city and not having it stolen. This isn't meant as an insult, but I think it means you're not in the target demographic for a shared self-driving car service.
"Loaded with my stuff" doesn't mean all of my favorite consumer electronics left in the open in the passenger's seat.
My behavior barely changed between living a mile away from the nearest person to parking daily in SF. Yes if I have something valuable in the cabin I'll put it in the trunk when I leave the car, but that's it.
Would you pay 10x to avoid having to share seats, particularly for an activity that's still a fairly large chunk of the household budget?
Switch to electric vehicles (which are suddenly feasible with the car-service, never-have-to-park model!) and centralize maintenance across a whole fleet of cars and you can shave a bunch off gas & maintenance, though your depreciation would probably go up unless battery packs became dirt cheap.
I think a lot of people will have much higher cost pressures than many of us on HN (at least, my impression is that we here are typically well above local median wages). That may push it a lot, and even more when you remove the upfront costs.
Also personally I'd love to not have to own a car. If it's even cheaper - great.
They are called busses, and trains, and trams. And they are not gross in most of Europe, for example.
The best analogy would be insurance for historical or classic vehicles; if you've ever looked into it, not only do they require certain things normal car insurance doesn't (for instance, they will typically only insure you if your car is kept in an enclosed garage), but because the pool of drivers is much smaller, it is more expensive to get.
Why would it increase the rates?
Rates are mostly driven by statistical analysis taking risk of accidents and cost of repairs into consideration. It is not a product particularly fit for a volume discount. If anything, fewer drivers on the road should mean fewer accidents, if the area/volume of roads stays the same (because of the drop in density, which means a drop in probability to be in the same spot as another driver at a given time).
> The best analogy would be insurance for historical or classic vehicles; if you've ever looked into it, not only do they require certain things normal car insurance doesn't (for instance, they will typically only insure you if your car is kept in an enclosed garage), but because the pool of drivers is much smaller, it is more expensive to get.
I don't think it's due to the pool of drivers being smaller. I think it's because the incident cost is much higher than high volume cars, because both parts and labor are more expensive for low volume productions (custom/exotic). Source: my exotic car.
how's that for a reason?
The auto industry is fully capable of standardizing on something when it's mutually beneficial for them to do so.
> I'm imagining having to wait in a huge line during rush hour because everyone wants to get their car out
That problem exists currently, except you wait an hour in line trying to exit the garage and nobody allowing you to back out because they want out first. I don't really see a solution to that particular problem if everybody is going to continue to have their own individual transports taking up space all day while not in use, and then everybody getting off work at the same time and rushing to get their cars at the same time, clogging the freeways at the same time. Well, except for things like Teslas, it would be nice to just summon your vehicle and have it unpark itself and drive to you to pick you up and give you an uber-like map and ETA on where it is. You could be doing more productive things while waiting for your car instead of standing (or sitting) in a line. 20 minutes before work ends, just summon your car so it's out front waiting, or circling the block or whatever.
(reading back over this comment, I might appear overly negative, but I would think all the issues I raise are solvable)
What's the throughput like on those systems? I could imagine at peak times it might take a while to get your car back. You'd also want to make sure you didn't leave anything in the car accidentally. Finally, imagine the trouble one of these breaking down would cause.
> "But no one owns an autonomous vehicle now, so there's no constituency organized to oppose charging for the use of public streets. This is the time to establish the principle and use it to avoid the nightmarish scenario of total gridlock."
their thesis is that now is the right time from a policy perspective to implement congestion pricing on autonomous cars. the driving around aimlessly bit is literally to alarm politicians into action.
a pay-per-use model is economically rational but notoriously hard politically. only recently has technology advanced enough to do real-time pricing, which is arguably more fair than former systems (like flat rate pricing). ideally you'd pay per mile*minute (similar to taxis and ridehailing).
This is not a new problem, and focusing solutions on autonomous vehicles is pointless discrimination.
- Telling your car to do rideshare until 5pm, and then stand by until you're ready to go sometime between 5pm and 6pm.
- Telling your car to go park far away and you'll give it twenty minute's notice when you're ready to go so that it can come get you.
- Telling your car to park in a lot where it'll be boxed in and may take a few minutes of shuffling to get itself out.
That said, I definitely can see an issue here where everyone's cars all descend on the downtown trying to perform curbside pickups right at 5pm. You could imagine similar things happening in any parking lot environment (mall, movie theatre, amusement park, etc), where the prime kiss-and-ride location ends up being a giant snarl of self driving cars all trying to save their owners a five minute walk across some asphalt.
(btw I never commute by car, only by bike ad public transport - so I'm just playing devil's advocate here)
And you could probably keep personal things locked in your trunk or a high-security locked glove compartment.
Money can be surprisingly motivating.
That will be of zero comfort the moment you get inside your car, and find out a drunk has puked into the foot well, or somebody was incontinent in the back seat.
...and those are the nice scenarios - I could think of plenty of others that wouldn't be pleasant at all for the owner.
At that point, your only recourse would be to send your car off to be detailed/repaired/whatever, while you went to hail a ride service (and hope you don't get another car with the same issue).
Heck - can you imagine getting into your car, only to find that it was inhabited by a chain smoker for the entire day?
I mean there is still the freak cases of them doing meth or otherwise not caring, but that seems likely to be something you can insure yourself out of for a relatively small cost.
Says this will cost about .50 an hour (USD) so quite affordable.
According to , median daily unreserved parking in SF is $29/day, so at 6 hours you break even. You can likely get much cheaper than this by driving a bit further away. Even at the $38 for New York and $42 for Honolulu you still break even around 8 hours.
> "Even when you factor in electricity, depreciation, wear and tear, and maintenance, cruising costs about 50 cents an hour—that's cheaper than parking even in a small town," says Millard-Ball. "Unless it's free or cheaper than cruising, why would anyone use a remote lot?"
A car that's built to last 250,000 miles of normal driving can likely go much farther at low speed cruising, especially for an EV.
An EV doesn't need (much) lubrication, for example, the Chevy Bolt EV maintenance schedule has only tire rotations for the first 150,000 miles:
With low speed travel and minimal stops, there's not much tire wear.
Ubiquitous EV's should reduce the accident rate dramatically.
Even if you assume a modest 20 mi/gallon at $3/gal, you're looking at about $0.15 a mile. A $40 oil change every 5000 miles, and a more expensive maintenance job every 10000 miles isn't going to push you past $0.25/mi.
Are you amortizing the cost of the vehicle?
Came here to say this. The article seems to have a basic lack of imagination about the types of new vlaue automated cars will create.
It also sounds like a crazy hard logistics/optimziation problem: "I have X number of rolling cars, how do I use them to maximize their value and reduce maintance and resource use?"
Why would anyone have windows in their house if someone could just throw a rock through it?
In reality, people are usually well behaved. The fact that self-driving cars have cameras and sensors like mad means that even fewer people would risk the jail-time they'd get by throwing rocks at them.
The idea that suddenly once cars are driving without people there will be a significant enough uptick in vandalism that it will deter cars from driving around is absolutely laughable.
If this were a realistic threat, we wouldn't have parking lots now.
2. Why/how would these autonomous cars cooperate in this way? Why would they be willing to pen themselves in at all?
3. If people-sized cars are filling the streets, traffic will be far far worse than it is now, which is the point of the article.
Like how we solved human-driver traffic once and for all back in '83?
They can, but then they are farther away when someone calls for a ride. If there's only a few self-driving car rental companies, then maybe it's not so bad, they can send most cars to a remote lot, with a few cars remaining in the city to address demand. But if hundreds of companies are going to have cars on the street, then they'll all want their cars to be crusing near potential riders.
Though a bigger problem is that self-driving cars will cause double the traffic of normally driven cars -- they'll drive into the city to drop off their passenger, then out of the city to a remote lot.
Once self-driving ride services become competitive, people will own far fewer daily commuters. They will put their money into a 4WD that can take them skiing, and leave it in the driveway on work days.
I see the same issue happening with any ride service model. Unless some part of it is being subsidized, I find it hard to see how a company will be able to have enough capacity for peak demand while not wasting a ton of capital. And if people have issues with getting a ride service, they'll buy their own, further complicating the profitability margins of ride service companies.
You deal with peak demand by having a supply that is equal to the peak. Automatic Rideshare companies can self balance over a large area, watch the predictable trends that show up during a year and so on and will print money and thus have a lot of capital.
You're also forgetting that most existing cars on the road have way more seating capacity than needed, since they need to account for the maximum number of people who will use that car at once. A family of four needs a car with four seats, even if most of the time that car will only be carrying one person to work and back throughout the week. Self driving cars will be much more efficient in that respect.
That assumes that nearby places have different peak times, which is probably a flawed assumption.
By offering discounted fares at off-peak times, and charging premium fares at the busiest times, you can smooth out the peaks while optimising profitability.
Easy, only companies with absurd amounts of cash will be able to compete, and won't mind burning through billions to dominate the market. The economics of Uber and Lyft don't work right now, but that isn't stopping them.
Google, Uber, GM, and whoever else will compete with one or two heavily funded startups, until one wins and the rest fail because of the dynamics you describe.
So I think the GP has the wrong picture.
No until they control the market at which point you will pay all the subsidy back with interest.
It's not impossible, but if they go into corrupt regulation (how else could they do it?) there is no reason they can't get the same without the throwing a lot of money away first. So, again, they won't.
Also, you make it sound like corrupt, industry protecting regulation is the exception and not the norm. Where do you live, and does this fantasy place accept immigrants?
Most vehicles sit idle in a parking lot but could be doing meaningful work.
(Queue SitCom script where someone tries to leave a party but forgot to turn off the feature and their car won't be back for 30 minutes...)
I would guess that in most cities the capacity is not limited by capital to buy cars, but capacity of the street network, which cars, autonomous or not, are notoriously bad at utilizing.
Many rides aren't so time sensitive that they can't be shifted to another time if the price is right (or wrong).
Car sharing companies will likely come up with a subscription service where you pay $X/month for your normal commute, then they can make sure they have enough base capacity for the regular rides and the on-demand rides can use demand pricing to ensure that everyone can get a car when they need it.
Which creates carpooling opportunities through economies of scale, as Uber/Lyft pool is already demonstrating.
That being said, there's probably still a place for busses during rush hour in a lot of places.
The main reason why non-dense places don't see good bus service is because of labor costs. In developed countries labor is easily the biggest source of cost when it comes to a bus, so agencies will run one 40-passenger bus every half hour rather than three 15-passenger buses every ten minutes. Removing labor makes the latter scenario affordable, and if buses are coming every ten minutes average wait time is about five minutes, which is comparable to Lyft or Uber today in some places.
I mean today it is a no-go decision from be, simply because it takes a minimum of twice as long to go to work by bus as by my car, but with a smarter route, that may not be an issue.
To take a bus from point A to point B, I have to walk to point C, wait for the bus, get on, wait to be dropped of at point D, cross the intersection to point E, wait for a transfer bus, get on, wait to be dropped off at point F, and finally walk to point B.
With this system I call a cab, wait for it at point A, get on, get dropped of at point B. Rather than my time being fragmented into 3 periods of walking interspersed with 4 periods of waiting, it is just 2 periods of waiting, which makes it much easier to make use of the time. In my experience riding buses, only about a third of the time spent is usable (except for long distance commuter routes), while nearly all the time spent in a cab is usable.
Even if the shared cab took a bit longer than a bus, I would still choose it over a bus for the improved productivity / enjoyment.
Like busses and trains? Seriously. Public transit.
The issue is a geometric one. There is only a fixed road capacity. Consuming that road capacity with deadheading vehicles is the worst usage.
IE, it can't go point to point, and is instead stuck in a movement pattern that isn't changing.
I think it would be feasible for the self-driving taxi companies to have a small fleet of cars in each neighborhood that could respond rapidly to take people for short trips.
By definition, public transit can only serve a specific segment of the commuting population.
That's not inherent to public transport. You can easily imagine a public network of bus transit where users send in a request for transit an hour or two beforehand; software coalesces the set of requests into a dynamic set of routes and stops; and tells the user to turn up at a stop (relatively) near the origination point and drops them off at a stop (relatively) near their destination point.
Whether it's economic or feasible is a separate issue. But funding mechanism, transport form factor, and autonomy are all distinct parts of a transportation method, and it's a mistake to think of "private autonomous cars" as competing with "legacy human-driven buses with set routes."
If "on demand mass transit via large multipeople vehicles (IE busses)" were feasible, then you'd already see companies like Uber doing it.
On demand point to point, where you don't have to wait a dozen stops to get where you want, is just strictly better than the alternatives in many many ways.
Sure. Get around this by having preset schedules. Or infer it. These details matter, but you can point out similar issues for public transit as it exists today and for private car ownership as it exists today: both are commonly used, despite drawbacks.
> If "on demand mass transit via large multipeople vehicles (IE busses)" were feasible, then you'd already see companies like Uber doing it.
Not at all. Uber and Lyft are premised on having a large base of independent contractors to perform all the labor and provide all the capital. "Large multipeople vehicles" would require complicated integrations with different municipalities, or for Uber/Lyft to purchase their own fleet of buses. Neither aligns well with their current businesses.
> On demand point to point, where you don't have to wait a dozen stops to get where you want, is just strictly better than the alternatives in many many ways.
Sure. And shared rides is strictly better in one very important way: cost. I'm much less cost-sensitive than the average American, and I take Lyft Line far more often than a regular Lyft.
It's not about what's best, but best in certain situations. I value latency sometimes, and cost sometimes.
Current public transportation is rigidly designed for capturing massive economies of scale (still good), while a dynamic swarm of self-driving vehicles can fulfill last-mile demand with the benefits of economies of scale (market opportunity).
There is a fixed road area to work with.
Links? I haven't found any way to practically share Lyfts for long-ish trips. I don't see any evidence Lyft or Uber will ever do much with shared-rides.
For self-driving cars, people wanting to save money will drive their own cars before they share rides. If you have a car, you've sunk a lot of money into it and so the per-ride cost is fairly small. Even a self-driving car has to price-in wear-and-tear.
Not only do many people have significant capital sunk into their cars but a lot of people would have trouble affording the cost of using a self-driving taxi and some number of others would simply object for whatever reason.
Moreover, maintaining a car and using a self-driving taxi is even more expensive - cars sitting around still decay and require maintenance as well as insurance.
I suspect these are more easily solvable since there is more flexibility about parking spots (the cars don't need to be within walking distance and only a few need to be close by). But there will still be idle cars that need to be put somewhere during off-peak times.
The local airport has similar issues with Lyft or Uber, which are in a separate zone from the taxis, so if it were possible to optimize better they probably would've tried already.
Autonomous vehicle “drivers” don’t need to shower, use the bathroom, eat or sleep, so instead they can be constantly moving rather than camping at airports. A car in motion is generating revenue, so I think autonomous taxis would be fewer in number than human taxis as well as behaving in revenue-optimizing ways (i.e. not camping at the airport.) Theoretically, those airport taxi villages would likely turn into charging stations with a few employees to provide necessary services.
Not necessarily. A lot of the self-driving taxi utopia is based on the idea that self-driving taxis will serve commuter traffic. And the major facet of commuter traffic is that you're going to have a high-volume, unidirectional traffic flow--once that car drops off its worker, there is no demand for it make any trips nearby. So if that car is in motion, it's still not carrying anybody, so it's not generating revenue.
It's sort of like congestion pricing.
Uber has done some of this already.
Not parking means excess capacity is creating traffic jams. So to avoid paying for storage, self driving cars are going to consume energy and space in travel lanes.... cities should charge the f out this.
(I'm fairly bearish on the prospects/likelihood of self-driving cars in my lifetime, but that's orthogonal to the point above. If they exist, we might not need to build mini-tanks anymore.)
in this vision for the future, is it still necessary to chisel out 6ft on every surface street for humans to ride self-propelled bicycles?
It's tough to see how to get down to 6 foot wide lanes when there are so many vehicles on the road which are wider than 6 feet. A Ford F-150 (thirteenth generation), which is the best selling pickup in the US, has a width of 79.9 in = 6.6 feet.
Or, consider a family with 2 parents and 3 kids, where all three need car seats, plus room for strollers, extra clothes, and so on. I looked at top DDG hits for "car for three kids" and all of them were over 6 feet in width.
Then there are service vehicles, like garbage trucks, which are well wider than 6 feet. (https://www.reference.com/vehicles/size-typical-garbage-truc... says a popular model is "approximately 102 inches" = 8.5 feet). Where do they drive without blocking two lanes of traffic.
It would also be impossible to use by any RVs. https://campergrid.com/average-rv-length-width/ says "Travel trailers or a camper trailer on an average are around 20 feet in length and 8 feet in width". Others are larger; "Class A RV width stands at an average of 9.5 feet".
Or conversion vans for people in wheelchairs.
These are all solvable, but there's a lot of existing - and expensive - systems in place which would need to be changed to make that vision come true. At the very least you need to wait until people who don't have narrow self-driving cars no longer have the political influence to keep others from kicking them off the road.
It'd be better for everyone if you could just walk in any car in these scenarios.
The partners at one place I worked at in London did this.
Maybe we'll have a AirBnB type of service where you would rent your self-driving car to others from 9 to 4 and the "AirBnB car" company would make sure it goes where there's demand.
This way people owning the cars are still sure to have their own ride even when there's high demand.
Another option is to have the car drive out into the suburbs in search of free parking to abuse.
For a family, the car would drive home to be available for other users. Each trip thus turns into two trips, one to drop a person off and another to pick a person up.
The ride service model doesn't work except for the people already tolerating ride services. Lots of us want to keep our junk in our cars. We haul around our snacks, spare shoes, and raingear. Our cars might get dirty, but at least it's our own filth, not a puddle of a stranger's vomit.
Some people will pay extra for car storage, other people will opt for the discount of not owning a car.
Disclaimer: I was never a regular in any big-equipment sports.
If I'm wrong, well, like I said owning a car might still be fairly popular when they self-drive.
This doesn't sound like abuse, it sounds like a good idea.
The point of expensive parking is to reduce the contention for parking spaces. If the car drives a long way away to park where parking is less contested, that seems like a win.
Neither I nor Walmart would be pleased to have empty cars showing up to park on our property.
I had in mind just the side of a road that doesn't have parking restrictions. Anybody is allowed to park there.
Perhaps you are talking about a free car park outside a supermarket or similar? In which case, yeah, fair enough, that would be abusing the free parking.
It's a bit like the complaints about Waze sending cars down minor little suburban streets. The town hadn't intended to be paying for the transportation infrastructure of a nearby major city.
That nust be a different planet than the one I live in.
With self driving cars and a voice interface...
I have this crisp mental image of thousands of older people wandering city roads as their cars try to get them to their imaginary destinations.
On the other hand, nostalgists might keep them occupied.
"The nostalgist is an interior designer specializing in recreating memories for retired people. Rather than settling for a typical ‘retirement village’ experience where everyone’s apartment looks the same, the wealthy elderly of 2030 will have the luxury of living in a space inspired by their favourite decade. Nostalgists recreate the setting of their preferred time and place for seniors wishing to relive their past, from a small-town 1970s living room to a 1980s university dorm room."
I wonder if they could have brought a fob that had addresses saved under names ahead of time. Get in the car, tell it to take them home, and it reads the address of "home" off of the fob.
Of course, then there's the issue of payment and them needing to independently keep track of their money, but it's a start maybe?
Sounds like something out of Black Mirror.
A steady stream of moving cars is not appropriate for an urban center, as they would form a barrier to walking, cycling, scooting which is apparently a thing now, etc.
Seems to me that this would fix the issue.
Also, I think that self-driving cars will have people sharing cars rather than owning one themselves, this will lead to fewer cars being owned overall, but not necessarily leading to less traffic since when you own a car it mostly just sits in your parking space.
Fewer cars means that those self-driving cars will probably be always on the road, which won't lead to any traffic savings.
And should I go somewhere to e.g see a movie or eat at a restaurant, the car can park so far away that there will be plenty of space for manual cars.
The SF Transit Agency says that accounts for 30% of traffic, although it's unclear how accurate that number is, it's probably safe to say it contributes a good deal.
I can tell when I'm going to get a package from the honking of horns.
With automated parking (for individually owned vehicles) and, you could just step out of your car and onto a waiting vehicle.
But more importantly, the second this happens, cities would switch their congestion charges to be by the hour instead of on entry. Cameras could be moved from city limits to being on every traffic light.
The big problems with self driving cars are 1) too many "fake it til you make it" people involved, 2) the good sensors cost too much, 3) machine learning vision isn't reliable enough at identifying objects, and 4) crap designs that make very optimistic assumptions about roads, rather than doing full ground profiling.
I think its highly likely that when we get to this level of autonomous driving that its most likely that someone like Ford or Telsa will operate fleets with enough coverage that most people will opt for pay when you want one. So when you are done with the use of the car, it just goes back into the fleet, and onwards to the next passenger.
Imagine not actually having to choose a car type but being able to use a commuter 99% and an SUV for the 1 ski trip a year, and a minivan for a night out on the town with lots of friends. This is going to drive people towards a fleet approach - its just plain a better fit for their needs.
Indeed cruising for a little bit while the driver does a quick errant might be better than parking when it's pricey. We do that all times when there is more than a driver in the car.
However, it feels arrogant to me to decide that when self-driving is a thing the cars will just clog the roads cruising while the drivers aren't there.
This ignores a bunch of things. Here is an unexhaustive list:
a. The risk of collisions is greater driving than parked.
b. Autonomous ride-sharing services would probably be a thing in this scenario (be it running some errands while the owner is busy or just deployed full-time like this).
c. There might cheaper denser far away garages that the vehicle could just immediately head to thanks to availability awareness.
d. It is very unlikely that the auto sector would program vehicles to clog traffic like this on purpose (though someone hacking their car to keep running nearby might happen).
e. Parking in San Francisco is very expensive. However, San Francisco is not the only city in the world and cities are vasty different from one another. Usually, for example, they are not islands and vehicles could drive, say, 10min to a parking lot on the nearest city (maybe giving a ride to someone else in the way).
I'm not saying that we should not consider doom scenarios, but reality has shown it most central planners fear too many things that don't happen often. We all use the Internet today, and it is relatively easy to fire a few threatening messages to people around the power to terrorize them (and get away with it). However, it just barely happens if you count in statistics.
(similar to how we charge a fee to leave an empty vehicle in a public space)
It's bizarre how difficult we choose to make easy problems.
Just charge for road use instead.
* For reference on unintended consequences of taxation I recommend Frédéric Bastiat's "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen" essay.
Link: http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html (you can just jump to 'Taxes' or - better - read the whole thing as it is very interesting and not that long).
He's more recognized for the Broken window fallacy/parable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window
I am fine if the road fees are proportional to income. Otherwise we are creating a world where public infrastructure is only available to people with plenty of money.
I think the earlier poster is stating that an equal % tax is regressive against low income folks (sales tax being the classic regressive tax). Lower income earners pay a higher percentage of their income towards sales taxes than rich folks.
I consider "fairness" in government to include optimizing for equity over equality, because even before one considers the moral aspects, a government treating everyone exactly the same is fundamentally bad for social stability.
They do, through taxes. Regional monopolies like inexpensive roads and transportation benefit everyone, even if you're not the one physically driving on it.
1. The cost of a dead-end residential street mainly benefits the people that live there. Everybody else just pays for it.
2. A truck drives down the road hauling cases of beer. Part of the cost of this trip is paid for via general funds. Everybody contributes a small $X to the truck's journey. Person A drinks a case of beer, so they get 1 case of beer per $X. Person B doesn't drink beer, so they get nothing for their $X.
3. Person A commutes by car to their job every week day on Highway H. Person B walks to work and never drives. Both people pay $X for Highway H, but only one of them uses it directly.
These costs are so diffused that people assume taxation is a fair way to slice it up. The real fair way:
1. The people that live on the dead-end street pay for the dead-end street.
2. The cost of the truck's journey gets factored into the price of the beer. Person A will have to pay the inclusive price to buy a case of beer. Person B pays nothing, giving them $X back to spend elsewhere.
3. Person A will have to pay to drive on Highway H. Person B saves $X. Person A thinks maybe it is smarter to not drive so much.
You seem to have completely forgotten about second-order effects. Person B still benefits tremendously from the logistical effects of Highway H on shipping, social mobility, government force projection capability (the original reason for the Interstate Highway System in the US), and many other factors.
Yes, and they do. What do you think agricultural tax-subsidies are?
Also the strawman problems you pose just to solve are a bit absurd, for reasons that I mentioned before about the nature of regional monopolies, and the fact that road costs are already covered at different levels of the government.
A good example of failed policy.
>Also the strawman problems you pose just to solve are a bit absurd, for reasons that I mentioned before about the nature of regional monopolies, and the fact that road costs are already covered at different levels of the government.
Not "strawmen problems" - concrete examples of mismatched cost and use, which you do not address.
Unproductive abuse is a DDOS attack against the infrastructure that inhibits economically productive use of the space.
Cities should tax unproductive use at a prohibitively high rate to stop this DDOS attack.
Governments exist to define and allocate common resources.
Or correspondingly, a fee is a tax that is administered by a private entity.
In the end, they're the same thing.
Now this would have unintended consequences.
Basically this would make transportation proportionally more expensive for poor people.
I think this is key. There may be a lot of autonomous cars in the future but they will come from a handful of companies who will face public pressure not to program them to allow grossly wasteful or antisocial behavior.
One hopes. But one could also say: they will come from a handful of companies that will endeavor to make it seem that _the things that are most profitable for them and convenient for their customers_ are one and the same as the public interest.
There are already narratives at hand that will make this easier: "40,000 lives a year!", etc.
I've gone from being kind of excited about robot cars to realizing that we will have to be very vigilant.
That's not a concern, considering that the narrative right now is that self-driving cars are dangerous. Given the number of accidents and fatalities, the entire self-driving car industry would need to go an entire year without a single accident of any kind to even come close to claiming that they are as safe as a bad human driver.
Uber's crash is the only fatality I'm aware of in a truly self-driving car.
"Last year, Senator McClellan caused 40,000 people to die by voting against the Make AV Companies Invulnerable Act"
(Which is why articles like this are important.)
By adapting ourselves to a future that has personal, automatic chauffeurs, we start to realize we no longer need proximity to our car. Parking is no longer a problem, costly parking garages are no longer necessary, parking meters disappear, ... it even gets to a point where entire metropolitan areas can "ban" parked cars, allowing all street space to be used for travel (no longer have to widen roads for more flow) and/or beautification/lower collected pollution. And since we have a chauffeur driving us, we can sleep or do work the car, meaning we can start our commutes much earlier / much more widely varied reducing "rush hour" congestion. We no longer have to leave work to pick up kids and take them to soccer practice - the car just does that for us. I have only scratched the surface. Just remember, WWMCD?
This will be known as "THE FLEET SERVICE", and every major car manufacturer, car seller, and car renter will jump on it. Lyft will be competing with GM will be competing with hertz.
There is so much more money to be made when one car is servicing many people, and when you pay for it non stop, or it plays ads to you during your commute. Records your schedule, destinations, music preferences, and unencrypted http traffic and sells it to advertisers. You can buy, sorry, rent the privacy X models, for a premium. Sometimes the cars will take different routes, to make sure you drive buy a starbucks, perhaps you will request it to stop to get a coffee. This will be advertised as a "learns your preferences and the things you love", but most of the time, it will just choose to slow down a bit when it drives by that huge billboard, you should really look at, while on the highway.
Think of this like when comcast owns the router in your house, and makes it be a node for their xfinity service, and has you locked out of admin panel. Or when your ISP injects JS in the html served to you. Or for when you run serverless on amazon. Point being, there is more money to be made in a renter's market than an owner's market.
You will, however be able to buy a semi-autonomous vehicle like you can do today, but fully autonomous will be prohibited, as the main companies will lobby with dumb excuses like "Who will be responsible in the case of a fatal accident? The company will be". Also, if you spend 150k to buy an autonomous model, and we update the service, your model gets no update and stops working in a year. The rented models always work. Governments will be against this, but will finally comply when law enforcement and tax agencies get free access to all information, though they will deny that is the case.
Hackers and open source enthusiasts will "hack" some cars to modify them to run custom software (linux self driving distro), or install adblockers and location spoofers for privacy reasons. A practice that will instantly become illegal and be branded as domestic terrorism.
The environmental benefits of replacing fields of asphalt and cement with greenery and open space will be huge.
For cases where I'm someplace for less than an hour, then sure, maybe this would be a problem. Even then, though, no reason why the car can't find a less-congested spot and idle about over there.