r/urbanplanning Design + Policy Jan 28 '22

Driverless cars won't be good for the environment if they lead to more auto use Transportation

https://theconversation.com/driverless-cars-wont-be-good-for-the-environment-if-they-lead-to-more-auto-use-173819
419 Upvotes

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32

u/Eurynom0s Jan 29 '22

Driverless cars is seeming increasingly like a pipe dream considering how full self driving (actual full self driving, not Tesla's marketing FUD) seems to keep getting kicked down the road. But I've been saying for years that driverless buses is a much more exciting and probably much for feasible use case. The number one limiting factor to service hours and frequency, at least in the US, is securing budget to pay the operators. If you don't need to pay the drivers then you can have frequent 24 hour service. And this is much more realistic than full self driving on arbitrary routes since the fact that buses follow a fixed route means that you can augment the vehicle's capabilities with support hardware placed along the route.

And before anyone says something about how this would kill solid middle-class jobs (driving buses), those people can always be retrained and reassigned to other duties, such as bus maintenance.

9

u/jadebenn Jan 30 '22

I feel like driverless busses would have security risks in a lot of cities. And if you have to start putting security officers on busses...

8

u/NewlandArcherEsquire Jan 29 '22

And before anyone says something about how this would kill solid middle-class jobs (driving buses), those people can always be retrained and reassigned to other duties, such as bus maintenance.

If you're going to mention it, you can't hand-wave away the fact automation reduces the need for labour-hours. I mean, that's the point yeah?

And thus there needs to be a robust welfare-state to protect those citizens from the ills that come with unemployment.

2

u/[deleted] Jan 29 '22

I feel the opposite. Driverless tech is improving each year. You can see that in demos and in all the features that are coming out in regular cars.

Rate of improvement is debatable, but its definitely improving.

9

u/EdinburghPerson Jan 29 '22

Driverless tech for cities will not happen in the next 20 years. I'm fairly confident of that, certainly in Europe, probably the USA too.

In Europe/UK, the streets are so complicated. I can't see how an autodriving car could navigate this junction: https://goo.gl/maps/CbAim1GssmCqSMLG6

It's on a hill, the sides are offset, cars hidden by parked cars and much busier than the photo makes out.

These cars will need to talk to each other, until that happens neither will driverless tech.

5

u/mina_knallenfalls Jan 30 '22

These cars will need to talk to each other, until that happens neither will driverless tech.

Pedestrians and cyclists still won't talk to cars, so it's impossible unless we completely clear our cities Robert Moses style.

2

u/[deleted] Jan 29 '22

I expect the tech to start in easier to drive areas. Waymo already has self-driving taxis in geofenced areas of Phoenix.

At a certain point, those areas will gain a large economic advantage over the areas that are complicated to drive in. At that point, complicated areas can choose to simplify or just live with economic disadvantages.

-4

u/ytmoiger Jan 29 '22

I think you are unaware of the advances in autonomous driving, you should do some research.

1

u/bencointl Feb 01 '22

I went to the American Public Transportation Association Expo in Orlando this past year and the thing that stuck out to me the most was the total lack of driverless buses. There was nothing but electric buses, but no autonomous buses anywhere. Of course, this makes sense when you start to understand that transit is often seen as a jobs program in many ways by political leaders rather than transportation, so anything that might increase efficiency and displace bus drivers is ironically a bad thing 🤦🏻‍♂️