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Nobody who's looked at the economics of self-driving cars realistically thinks private ownership is an option: if you're putting that much capital investment in a vehicle that could operate 12-16 hours/day, your amortized costs go up by a factor of 6-8 if it's only operating for 2 hours/day. If we get self-driving cars it'll be in the form of ridesharing or rental services.

Agreeing on a standard protocol for both connectors and communications is a relatively easy problem if you have an industry with a dozen or so operators rather than 300 million private owners. It also solves the other major reason trains don't regularly crash, which is regular maintenance.




Nobody who's looked at the economics of self-driving cars realistically thinks private ownership is an option: if you're putting that much capital investment in a vehicle that could operate 12-16 hours/day, your amortized costs go up by a factor of 6-8 if it's only operating for 2 hours/day. If we get self-driving cars it'll be in the form of ridesharing or rental services.

This same reasoning applies to non-self driving cars, but somehow we do have a few privately owned cars around. The only way self-driving would make it any different would be if self-driving cars were so much more expensive that only very few would be able to afford it. If you however try to estimate the shape of the demand curve, you'll note that even today that are plenty of cars sold at $100k mark, so unless self-driving cars are many hundreds of thousands of dollars each, you'll still see privately owned self-driving cars.

More importantly, once the technology is out in the wild, many manufacturers will copy it, and it will push down the markup for self-driving capability rather low. You can sell a self-driving Toyota Corolla for $100k if you're the only manufacturer of self-driving cars. Once Nissan and Ford have their own equivalent technology, you can no longer do that.


When I think of the economics of self driving cars I pull out of my keister a sub $10k price for that option and then estimate the monthly amortization cost at 'under $200/mo'

At that point I start worrying that self driving cars externalize the cost of congestion off the driver to the public at large. Everyone has to deal with congestion except the people inside their self driving cars yapping on their phones.


Then nobody intelligent has looked at the idea. There isn't much gain from car sharing: more then half of the cars in the fleet will be used for one trip in the morning and one in the afternoon - rush hour is much busier than any other time of the day. Even if a car could be used for a second trip, it needs to get to the next rider, which means travel back out to the suburbs empty - adding wear and tear to the car and burning fuel (CO2)

Some people will car share, but most will decide that the convince of having their gold clubs in the trunk is worth having their own for the little cost difference it will be.


Nonsense, if self driving is a $30k option on a camry, that makes it a 60k car to amortize. How many $60k+ BMWs sold last year?


Probably a small fraction of the total sales, given that the average new car price was about 3 times less (and many people buy second-hand cars). Therefore, private self-driving cars will only be available to a very small fraction of the population, and the rest of the population will have to use car-sharing.




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