I wish the billions (trillions?) that were being spent on self driving cars was being spent on public transit.
Here's a clever study:
It's hard to study how traffic will change with autonomous vehicles since we don't really have them yet.
So scientists gave people free chauffeurs instead—the original "self" driving car.
Result: People put 83% more miles on their car.
That thing where self-driving cars were supposed to reduce congestion? Doesn't look like its going to happen.
Link to the original paper (it's really easy to read): http://www.joanwalker.com/uploads/3/6/9/5/3695513/mustapha_et_al_-_final_transportation.pdf
@readsteven But there is no way to make only selected individuals benefit from public transport, so it gives no advantage, as it improves the lives of everyone equally (even worse, arguably it improves the lives of the poor more than the rich).
@readsteven at least public transit will benefit from that tech eventually.
Unless your transit plans cover the spaces between cities (let's all have a good belly-laugh at the idea of spending money on services for rural populations!) you're still stuck with a lot of people on individual transport.
Seriously, one size doesn't fit all. Money on transit? Good stuff. Doesn't preclude money on self-driving tech, especially when the result is safer for pedestrians, many of whom are poor.
Please understand: I think self-driving tech isn't a particularly good approach to our traffic, energy or climate situation, but given how crappy transit is in even the finest circumstances, I find it very hard to fit either one into all situations.
To me the huge advantage in self driving is safety. Humans are bad at driving and many die because of it. Even if we don't achieve full self driving soon the technology can help human drivers and cover some of their weaknesses. So I'm all for it.
There is some reason to believe that self-driving may alleviate congestion in a number of ways, but it's heavily implementation-dependent. On highways, by removing human factors you can get smooth traffic movement with higher traffic density. In cities you can serve more people with fewer vehicles, and manage denser parking arrangements as well.
The problem is that many of these claims presuppose a majority self-driving, for significant effects.
@jankoekepan You're ascribing a lot of nuance in a 19 word toot. I never said one size fit all, only that I think the money spent on autonomous cars would be better spent on public transit.
I've lived everywhere from rural America to Tokyo and have first-hand experience with transit needs of those places.
@readsteven There wasn't nuance in the toot; that's kind of the point. It wasn't a plea for a rebalancing based on perceived needs, it wasn't an analysis of costs, needs and possible benefits as opposed to risks.
It was a straightforward call for money to be moved from one bucket to another, at the clear cost to one avenue of research and development, in favour of a solution which is unhelpfully irrelevant to many people who might benefit by the other idea.
That's why I said what I did.
@readsteven The only immediate positive about all the self-driving startups: Almost all of them test their cars in the northeast corner of San Francisco where my office is.
Me and my coworkers have joked that all the self-driving cars are being trained on the walking patterns of us going to lunch ever day - which will make us the safest pedestrians on Earth in the future. 😜
*Starts cosplaying as Thomas for increased pedestrian safety*
Around here I see a few Aptive cars every time I go for a walk, but those are the only openly autonomous cars (licensed as such with a safety driver) I see any more.
The little fully* automated shuttle is off the streets now. Not sure what that means. (Probably the funding ran out.)
* There was no driver on board, but there was a remote safety driver, often in a car trailing behind.
@cinebox your project sounds awesome. I'm looking forward to having one on my bike to keep me safe from all the crazy people taking naps behind the wheel!
There's also at least two other companies that don't mark their cars, but have lots of sensors bolted on. I see those also pretty often, but clearly not funded to the level of Zoox and Cruise.
I've told the Lyft app I'd be willing to ride in one, but haven't gotten one yet. (No surprise given how rarely I ride share.)
@readsteven I saw a simulation from MIT showing traffic congestion was a human factor. If every cars could "talk" to each other that wouldn't be need for traffic lights.
@rob Yes, but that only works when 100% of the cars on the road are autonomous. Put just one human controlled car into that mix and it all goes out the window. The vast majority of of auto-driving technology is dealing with humans being in the system.
(I mean, most problems are simple if you throw out the human factors.😏)
@readsteven if we are on wishing, I'd like to see roads and parking lots begging repurposed too. I've been fascinated with the concept of superblocks (I think in Barcelona) and the Columbian mayor that spent tax payer money on buses and pedestrians instead of road ways for car owners.
The only thing that would make self driving cars work is city owned and maintained. Individuals wouldn't get personal cars. But you could still request one to go to the market or whatever.
@readsteven @megfault I would argue that autonomous cars will behave more like public transport in some ways. You might not own one, you most definitely will not park it in front of a building, it will probably be used more efficiently (per vehicle). Not exactly the same, but already a lot better than classical "my car, my parking spot, 1.2 passengers on average, 23hrs parking per day"
@readsteven we could have shared self driving cars like for electric scooters.
In a sense, it is. The future of public transport is unlikely to be buses and trains, it's much more likely to be automated ride services. This is already happening in Japan with there self-driving minibuses from rural towns to cities and should make its way to the west.
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