Or they may not. Robotic futures tend not to work out as predicted, but here’s another one, as DW.COM reports.
One likely roadblock is the amount of electricity required to make it feasible. Another one could be public resistance…
By 2025, self-driving cars could lead to a steep decline in fossil fuels – and in personal car ownership. Smart electric vehicles will pick you up, drop you off, and mostly look after themselves. A realistic scenario?
In 2014, in the USA alone, cars traveled an estimated 2,926 billion miles (4,740 billion kilometers) – not always safely. During that year, 32,675 people lost their lives in traffic accidents, and a much larger number were injured.
This meant around $200 billion (175 billion euros) in insurance claims and another $670 billion of uncompensated losses in pain and suffering, lost work-time, damaged gear, emergency services costs and other economic losses, according to figures from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“That works out to about 29.6 cents per mile,” said Brad Templeton, a Canadian expert on autonomous vehicles, who was in Berlin for the Singularity University Germany Summit. That’s more than two and a half times what people spend on fuel per mile on average, given US gasoline prices of $2.14 a gallon.
“Cars are a huge health and environmental hazard, and accidents generate enormous costs. But that’s going to change, because robots don’t drink and drive, they don’t turn into seniors with slow reflexes, and they don’t screw up because of inexperience. They’re going to drive incomparably more safely than people can.” Electric motorbikes could be self-driving too eventually, and likely a lot less deadly.
Self-driving cars are also going to be a lot quieter, use up significantly less land, and save billions of person-hours each year, because they won’t need us to drive them, Templeton said.
And they’re going to cause far less air pollution. Templeton estimated that the shift to self-driving vehicles will eventually reduce US carbon emissions by 200 million tons of CO2 per year, and eliminate other forms of urban air pollution caused by fossil fuel cars, such as nitrous oxides.