Self-driving vehicles could cut U.S. car ownership by half

Robert Karbaum
For the report, Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute looked at 2009 data from the U.S. National Household Travel Survey, which found that 31.9% of households had one car, 41.6% had two cars and 26.5% had three or more vehicles. Most (83.7%) households didn't report having to make daily trips that conflicted. Only 14.7% had two drivers with overlapping trips, and less than 2% of households reported conflicting schedules that required three or more cars. This means the average number of cars per household is currently 2.1, but the minimum number of vehicles needed in a household is 1.2, on average, according to Schoettle and Sivak's analysis. If Americans cut their car ownership accordingly, the nation would see a 43% drop in the average number of vehicles per household, the report showed. See the full article here: Now, what are everyone's thoughts on this? Is anyone taking this as a queue to polish off a resume and jump to a different industry? Or is this all hogwash?
mark rask
good info....thx
Frank Marshall
Wait a minute here... so the point is that the car wouldn't need to stay with me at work, it could go home and pick up kids and take them to soccer and then drop them off, go get my spouse and take her to the doctor, and then home again and then come back to me at work so I only need one car? Are we assuming the car will drive itself without an occupant? Surely we are much further away from that then we are an occupied car ready to take over in case it's computer brain gets confused or scrambled...
Les Hall
With new and faster processors from the likes of NVIDIA, combined with ever increasing GPS accuracy and the intelligence in a car to understand what a video feed is actually showing, the major reason that cars won't be able to drive themselves, is going away. It has been a lack of compute power and software that has been holding this back. As for those that claim that this can never happen because the computer brain gets confused or scrambled, remember that the "success" of the human driver in 2012 was over 33,000 killed, 2.36 million injured and over 5.2 million accidents. I believe that not only will self driving cars be safer - that the time will come when "driving yourself" will come at a cost of higher insurance because the car with a human driver is more likely to be involved in an accident than the driverless car. And the good news is that with video feeds in every direction, who was at fault will be easy to determine, eliminating a host of lawsuits. The hard part for many in this industry, is to realize that there is a large number of people and entire generation that simply want transportation from Point A to Point B. What they really want is to pay for XX hours of transportation each month - and have the ability to specify what type of transportation they need (for 1 or for 6) and have the transportation for the period of time they need it. Consider rental car companies - which one seems to be ready for this eventuality? What do you need when you simply order transportation - a place for the transportation to go to when it has nothing to do. And if you wonder why Google is so interested, imagine how many ads, in an hour of transportation, Google could present to the occupant - and every ad was for a business you had not gotten to. 5 seconds per ad is 720 ads per hour.
Jason Stum
Never thought about self driving cars like that @Robert, thanks for sharing the link. From just a futuristic stand point, I do hope this is something that comes to fruition in my lifetime. I'd love to be 70 years old and be shuttled down to the local Piggly Wiggly by my crazy self-driving, semi-sentient car. That being said, while I do think the we'll eventually have autonomous self-driving cars (ala the ones in I, Robot) it's more than likely a looooooong way off.
mark rask
makes sense to me

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