Manhattan Crystal Ball

Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCar, writes:

Once those vehicles go on sale, the pace of adoption and transition will exceed any proposed speed limit, driven by compelling economics on both the demand side (us) and supply side (taxi, transit, shuttle services). Companies that are currently paying drivers can shed one of their most significant costs — Uber, for instance, can’t wait for self-driving cars and has invested in its own technology to make it happen. It’s only one of many players who will switch to autonomous as soon as they can. There will also be big savings for the trucking industry, so it’s no surprise that startups like Otto (founded by ex-Googlers) are already testing mammoth road carriers that drive themselves.

Consumers also can’t wait — just look at how quickly Tesla owners have taken the company’s “autopilot” features beyond prescribed limits. And there are millions who will appreciate new services that, without the cost of drivers, will give them speedy, reliable, on-demand travel.

Once it starts, there will hardly be time to shape how AVs are used. But we must.

The article, like the blockquote, is a long read. But it’s packed with interesting meditations on the benefits and costs of autonomous vehicles, especially for cities.

Read the whole thing.

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