How Driverless Cars can Impact Climate Change

Think about automated cars. Most surveys
now say people don’t trust a robot car. The same thing happened a hundred years
ago when automated elevators were introduced. It used to be there was a
person in the elevator and when they took them out people were upset, they
didn’t want to use it, they felt it was dangerous, and it’s really the same
situation we have now with automated cars. If we really want to cut greenhouse
gases this is it. This vehicle automated, electric, shared. This is the
vision of the future right here in this vehicle. The transportation system we
have now is perhaps the most inefficient, resource-intensive system you could
imagine. We are using so much energy. We are using so much land. Land for roads,
land for parking, and we’re producing so much greenhouse gases. What’s so exciting now is we see three revolutions happening or about to happen in transoprtation. We’re seeing electrification of vehicles for sure within a couple decades. Lyft and uber have transformed how we
move people or really how we could move people. And it’s not carrying one person at a time, it’s carrying multiple people. And then, in the future, perhaps best of all, we’ll take this pooling style of moving people around and marry it with automation. What we’ve seen with Lyft, ridepooling is one the the most effecient ways of taking cars off the road. In 2014 we intorduced Lyft Line which allows people to choose a lyft that is going to be picking up multiple people along the way and that accually comprises a very large percentage of all the rides that happen on the lyft platform in our largest markets now. So that’s why cities and transportation researchers are so interested in the potentional ride sharing to accually create a more sustainable transportation system. At UC Davis we’ve created a major research program in these three revolutions. We bring together Mayors, we bring together other kinds of industry leaders. to figure out, how do we manage this transition. Sacramento is very excited about the potential of autonomous vehicles, especially when it comes to ride sharing. One essential way to combat climate change is to reduce the vehicle miles traveled. To build our communities in ways that make it easier to go from home to work, home to where you shop, home
to where you play, and autonomous vehicles could play a big part there, with these three revolutions we’re heading towards a future in which we are
producing much less greenhouse gases. It’ll will be disruptive but it could be
disruptive in a very good way for many and many places.

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