Google’s Self-Driving Car Project has logged 1.5 million miles driven by its self-driving cars in Mountain View (CA), Austin (TX), Kirkland (WA), and Metro Phoenix (AZ) since 2012. The plan is to keep going and adding more cities to the list. Car manufacturers are also joining the revolution. BMW plans to release its first self-driving car in 2021.
While idea of self-driving cars is super cool and exciting, some researchers are starting to question whether or not self-driving cars will be better for the environment than traditional cars. According to the Department of Energy research, self-driving cars could decrease energy consumption in transportation by 90% or increase it by 200%. At this time, it is unclear which is more likely to happen.
Many researchers are concerned that there will be a drastic increase in miles traveled (energy consumption) by self-driving cars because people will be more likely to travel further and more frequently once they are able to do other tasks while sitting in a self-driving car. People will more likely live further from work and commute longer distances. Also, there is some speculation that, in large cities with parking problems, self-driving cars will circle around blocks instead of parking when they are not occupied.
What are your thoughts?