Driverless cars could be a solution to climate change—but two major things have to happen

Driverless cars could be a solution to climate change—but two major things have to happen

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Dan Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, checks out an autonomous, electric bus with Freddie Dabney of First Transit, at Bishop Ranch business park in San Ramon, Calif. The shuttle is part of a pilot program, which will eventually ferry employees along designated routes in the business park. Photo credit: Joe Proudman

Driverless Cars Could be a Solution to Climate Change—But Two Major Things Have to Happen

by Kat Kerlin

Driverless vehicle use worldwide could lower traffic congestion and emissions contributing to climate change by 50 percent or more in 2050, according to a 2017 report led by global transport expert Lewis Fulton at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis).

Experts at ITS-Davis are working with auto manufacturers, policymakers, ride-sharing providers and others worldwide to provide guidance on how governments and communities can reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of driverless cars.

Ride-sharing company Lyft expects driverless vehicles to account for most of its rides within five years. Some transportation experts are more conservative, estimating that widespread adoption of sit-back-and-take-a-nap driverless vehicles will likely take another 20 to 40 years. But most agree it’s a matter of when, not if.

“A future with driverless cars is inevitable because it will be cheap, safe and people will want it,” said ITS-Davis director Dan Sperling. “Most of the technology is already here. Now we want to make sure, before we get too far, that these driverless cars are powered by electricity and used for pooling services, not individually owned.”

In 2016, ITS-Davis launched its “3 Revolutions” policy initiative, which lays the scientific foundation for a future with driverless vehicles embracing all of the characteristics—driverless, electric and shared mobility—needed for the greatest environmental and public benefit.

...Read the full story at The Washington Post