There continues to be a lot of hype and excitement around driverless cars, with the first vehicles hitting roads in Britain recently and the NZ Herald running an opinion piece by Paul Minett earlier this week that was generally good, although perhaps a bit excitable about the need to stop all current investments in roads and public transport.

One of the big promises of driverless cars is that they will significantly reduce congestion, as their computer-controlled driving will enable much closer following distances between vehicles, alongside much more efficient operation of intersections. But how will this play out in practice? One of the most detailed pieces of analysis was undertaken by the International Transport Forum (part of the OECD), which modelled in quite a lot of detail what might happen under different scenarios involving the uptake of driverless cars.

Two types of “driverless vehicle” were analysed:

  • Taxibots – self-driving cars that can be shared simultaneously by several passengers
  • Autovots – self-driving vehicles that pick-up and drop-off single passengers sequentially

The analysis used Lisbon, Portugal as the case study city for the analysis. The different scenarios also looked at whether high-capacity public transport would be available or not, as well as how things would work at 50% and 100% penetration levels of these new vehicles. Some of the results of the analysis are pretty interesting.

Firstly, looking at mode-share, in scenarios where high-capacity public transport is retained the driverless vehicles actuatlly result in an increase in PT mode share, although it seems that they replace all “not high-capacity” PT. This makes a lot of sense, driverless vehicles could make for great first/last mile solutions and for replacing those routes that wind through the suburbs designed primarily to provide coverage. Interestingly walking & cycling mode share is projected to decline from 18% in the baseline scenario to 8% with the new vehicles.

modeshare-comparisons

Next, if we look at fleet-size, the projections are pretty sensitive to the different scenarios – varying from a situation where nearly 90% of the private vehicle fleet is no longer required, to other situations where there would actually be more vehicles than the baseline. Once again the existence of high-capacity PT seems to make a big difference to the totals, as does the level of penetration (it seems that most people are expected to hold onto their private vehicles until there’s very high penetration).

fleet-size

Perhaps the most interesting finding relates to projected overall traffic volumes, which increase under all the modelled scenarios (although to very different extents). Scenarios without high-capacity public transport are projected to see substantial increases in car kilometres travelled, from both modal shift away from PT and also the empty “re-positioning” trips taken by the vehicles.

traffic-volume

The study highlights that while scenarios with slight increases in travel would be manageable (due to the vehicles themselves being able to travel more efficiently), scenarios with much higher increases are not likely to be manageable at all. Some further detail is provided about the extent of travel increase at different times of the day:

traffic-volume-by-time

The most interesting trend in the above graph is that the “AutoVots without high-capacity PT” scenario’s greatest increase in vehicle km occurs at peak times, which would be when the transport system is least likely to be able to cope with such an increase. Furthermore, the greatest level of travel increase seems to be on local roads (not motorways), which is probably where we would least want it to happen:

traffic-volume-by-road

The study then looked a bit closer at where, under the “TaxiBot plus high-capacity PT” scenario, travel increased or decreased. Obviously this would vary depending on the city, but it is interesting to see that most increases are in more peripheral areas rather than central areas. The study itself also highlights that volumes stayed constant or declined on major routes and bottlenecks, with increases mainly confined to local networks (presumably for more local trips?)

vkt-change-by-location

Finally, scenarios with full vehicle penetration saw significant reductions in the number of parked vehicles, although once again the reduction was far lower at 50% penetration and actually increased in a couple of scenarios:

parked-cars

There are a few key takeouts from this study that are really important to keep in mind when it comes to discussing driverless cars and how they might change the transport system in the future:

  1. High capacity public transport remains crucial. Scenarios without high capacity PT saw really big increases in travel demand, especially at peak times. We can rest easy that our current and future rapid transit network investments will continue to provide value in the future – even with a gigantic shift to driverless vehicles.
  2. Ride-sharing and car-sharing results in very different outcomes. A system based around “car-sharing”, where the driverless vehicles are for individuals, results in a huge amount of travel and large number of re-positioning trips. It also needs a much larger vehicle fleet than ride-sharing.
  3.  All driverless vehicle future suggest a massive reduction in the amount of land required to park vehicles. This could be truly transformational for our urban areas as this land can be repurposed into housing, businesses or open space.

The big take-away though is to note that the introduction of driverless vehicles could play out in a variety of different ways in the future. Some could be really good, others disastrous. It’s pretty important that we get it right.

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41 comments

  1. One simple win for transport planners in the past is that average car occupancy could never drop below 1.0. Driverless vehicles get rid of that lower limit and replace it with a theoretical limit of 0.0.

    1. The zero occupancy issue is why I think driverless cars are just not viable without road pricing. With low fuel prices and no labour cost the vehicles could be left on the road all day for close to nothing instead of paying for parking.

    2. Taxis are effectively a 0 passenger vehicle, until they get a fare. Cities with lots of taxis suffer from low occupancy rates per km travelled.

  2. Nice article. I agree with all 3 takeaway points.

    I think it is hard to predict how people will respond. How leaders respond determine if we end up with a good or bad outcome. The speed of their introduction will surprise us. Most car companies are promising AVs for sale by 2020. Just like the incredible adoption of smart phones, the uptake of AV’s will be quick. It is difficult to influence their use/introduction after they take over the market.

    Congestion: Just removing drivers results in a fleet of empty cars driving around after doing the drop off. I know I will use my car more if I don’t have to drive. I can just sit on facebook or finally get around to read the Economist. Imagine all the double parking that would go on.

    Unemployment: No more truck drivers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers. Far less work for mechanics, panel beaters, car insurance providers, car manufacturers, car dealers etc. Match this up with AI removing other jobs in other sectors, it is a nightmare.

    Lost Tax: In NZ if we all go electric (which we should because it makes plenty of economic sense) then there will be a huge drop in petrol tax and instead we will have to resort to more complicated and less efficiency tax systems to pay for all the roads. No more ticket revenue for the police or local governments either. If you have toll roads/ congestion charging we wont get as much revenue and this will encourage car/ride sharing.

    Ride sharing: If we can make this popular, people won’t need cars because they can just subscribe to some system. But someone needs to lead the way. Plus this will rival PT in some respects. If we decoupled apartments from having car parks, we get cheaper housing and support car sharing. We won’t need on street parking or off street parking and free up space for other things.

    Traffic deaths: Huge benefits here. The social cost of crashes is staggering.

    Engineers like myself are focused almost entirely on the technical details of getting AVs to work. But we don’t care all that much on how they will be used and how they will shape the built environment. If leaders don’t intervene, we could end up worse off than we are now.

    Just google “Robin Chase self driving cars” Her article on AVs is one of my favourites. Mainly because she argues for a UBI which is an entirely different matter.

    1. “Engineers like myself are focused almost entirely on the technical details of getting AVs to work. But we don’t care all that much on how they will be used and how they will shape the built environment. If leaders don’t intervene, we could end up worse off than we are now.”

      So while you may say [in effect] “We only invent the bomb, we don’t drop it” – it doesn’t absolve you or or fellow engineers from the need to ensure that those “leaders'” you have faith in are appraised and made aware of their responsibilities in this area that are equally as important..

      Right now, those leaders think that its a self-correcting problem, that they need to keep well away from.
      Whereas the study shows its actually far from it. AVs, unlike nukes, have no deterrent to “first use”,

      So we have a developing arms race developing, in the vacuum by those “leaders” who will quite happily let the Engineers and AV makers dictate who, when. how they will be used.
      But not, it seems, whether or not we will/should use them,.As that decision has already been made.

      1. I’m curious – I’ve observed a lot of hostility to engineers on this blog. I would honestly love to know why?
        Some commentators have accused engineers of lacking creativity, an accusation that I feel is based upon ignorance and assumption – Engineering (any field) requires massive amounts of creativity, it’s not all about looking at tables and applying calculations…

        With regard to your nuke bomb – That was created by some of the most pre-eminent scientists of the time. Einstein considered himself to be a pacifist. In 1929, he publicly declared that if a war broke out he would “unconditionally refuse to do war service, direct or indirect… regardless of how the cause of the war should be judged.” (Ronald Clark, “Einstein: The Life and Times”, pg. 428). His position would change in 1933, as the result of Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power in Germany. While still promoting peace, Einstein no longer fit his previous self-description of being an “absolute pacifist”.

        Einstein’s greatest role in the invention of the atomic bomb was signing a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging that the bomb be built.

        Ok, got a little serious there. Point being, as a former IT engineer and now an embedded design engineer and photographic fine artist I am very frustrated when somebody gets slammed for calling themselves an engineer around here.

        What Ari was implying was simply that an engineers role is to turn a concept into reality, whereas a politicians role is to create policy for the greater good of the nation (regardless of how often they seem to fail at that goal), how the developed/developing concept will work from a social viewpoint.

        1. I’m not calling Ari out particularly.

          But if you want to use the term Engineer, then that comes with a lot of responsibility and baggage (whether you, Ari, or me like it or not).

          We read a lot of cases in the press and elsewhere, since WWII where so-called engineers [and sometimes scientists] worked on endeavours, which when they turned to custard, they immediately or shortly afterwards washed their hands of the process and blame “someone else” [usually “the system” ] for the problems. Instead of accepting some of the blame.

          The various nuclear weapons projects during and since WWII are but one part of it. There were many scientists and engineers who worked on the Manhattan project who stopped working and left the program once Germany surrendered. Others did not leave the program until after WWII and many came to regret that and their involvement in general.
          The reasons why Japan was bombed are many and complex but not overly useful to be discussed here.

          But many of the folks who did work on the Us and British bomb projects did come to regret their involvement because their focus on building the bomb, lead them to put too much trust in their leaders as to how it would actually [not] be used. Most did not want to see the weapon used instead they expected some sort of demonstration would be enough to convince Japan to surrender.

          Many were seduced by the challenges of the problems. And by derogating their responsibilities to others and by not even questioning if the problem is one that society should solve in the first place, they are culpable too to some degree of the side-effects and downsides that eventuate.

          Those Engineers who came up with and then deployed the “defeat device” for the recent Diesel engine scandal impacting VW amongst other car makers, knew exactly what they were doing.
          But they looked the other way as they let others “drop the diesel bomb”. Without such a capability available for Diesel engines, then no such option would have been available for VW to deploy.
          And the true nature of pollution from this technology would have been apparent very much sooner. So they enabled the dropping, even if they didn’t pull the trigger themselves.

          No-one I’ve heard to date has thanked the Engineers for what they did here in inventing this bomb. Nor should they.

          Driverless cars will end up in the same boat as Dieselgate. These engineers are busy inventing these bombs, and not giving a thought to deployment and consequences of doing so.
          It will sort ifself out eventually, but it may take many many decades to do so. Forcing us to live with their bad choices as it does.

          Lastly Traffic Engineers are not true engineers, many are little more than charlatans using the cloak of authority that the Engineer term gives them to peddle what amounts to in many cases, little better than studying the entrails of birds to predict the future. They offload their responsibility by peddle broken traffic models as gospel truth, and in doing so enable their bosses to offload their responsibility in turn by pointing to the Traffic Engineers prognostications as “tablets of wisdom etched in stone”. A nice virtuous circle of denial and mutual reinforcement.

          Not all Engineers are this bad, but as my grandmother sometimes said. “You’re judged by the company you keep.”
          And Engineers collectively have more than a few rotten apples in their barrel of good ones. So its obvious why they are not well respected.

          1. Motor vehicles have killed and injured more people than nuclear weapons have. Driver error has been the cause of most of those deaths and injuries. On a prima facae basis AVs would seem to address that issue.

            Weapons are intended to kill and injure. Once a society decides to employ scientists and engineers to develop more effective weapons it is somewhat perverse to point the finger at them for delivering what that society has tasked them to do.

            …but back to AVs. Seems to me that there have been some heroic assumptions that don’t stand up to analysis (eg. they will be cheap to use, sharing will be widespread, they will tackle traffic congestion etc). The Lisbon scenario above proceeded from some assumptions; I doubt that one of them was that pedestrians and cyclists take advantage of the collision avoidance characteristics of AVs and render them ineffective in dense urban areas.

    2. Nice post, Ari.

      I like transportation academic David Levinson’s take on how autonomous software will change the shape of streets and cars: https://transportist.org/2016/08/26/the-shapes-of-streets-to-come-how-new-transport-technology-will-reshape-urban-space/. Of note: when alerted to the only highway capable single-width electric car in existence, he tweeted that the car should go into mass production.

      I recently saw Robin Chase speak at the Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago. I’ve expanded her FAVES – Fleet Automated Vehicles Electric/Shared to FAVORITE: Fleet Autonomous Vehicles On Roads Increasing Traffic Efficiency.

      Cars are the next big connected consumer electronic product. Like televisions, computers, and phones, their shape will change from wasteful wide to efficient thin.

  3. The theory of reduced car ownership due to sharing autonomous cars doesn’t stack up for me. Apart from the near-impossibility of an autonomous vehicle that can reliably negotiate any road situation in any environment, what car manufacturer is going to work towards a future where people buy fewer cars? Turkeys, Christmas etc

    Reduced car ownership due to increased use of PT and active modes is what we need to be focused on.

  4. What likely to happen is local connector bus service will no longer needed. Where rapid transport with a small numbers of efficiency interchange stations will have higher demand.

    One thing to point out is the real would will likely be a hybrid scenario for texibot and ride sharing.

    Average people who commute will likely use texibot, where rich, business people, and family weekend trip will book the whole car.

  5. Who defines the rules that these cars will follow? Are our current road rules good enough to run a fleet of autonomous cars? Is it within the capacity of the MOT to program a network of local rules that works for use with any autonomous car or are we going to have to rely generic rules as supplied by the manufacturer?

    1. I think the legal aspects are the most challenging and least discussed. Liability for crashes and injuries will be a massive issue, though mitigated by ACC in NZ. Is it the vehicle owner. the software provider, the person in the car at the time?

      The first time a driverless car swerves away from a group of people to head a child, just wait for the cries of indignation. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some stage we see a rule that all cars must have a person on board who can take control. Apparently there is currently no rule in NZ requiring a driver which is why the government is so keen to see NZ as a test bed for the technology.

      Then again the auto industry has massive lobbying power and they managed to suppress the outcries against the slaughter of pedestrians in the early 20th century, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to get problems with driverless cars written off as “the price of doing business”.

      The slow turnover of vehicles in NZ will also be a big challenge. With less than 100% of the cars driverless, many of the benefits wont exist, especially on local roads. At least on motorways we could have a driverless only lane.

      For me, driverless cars are a red herring. Driverless buses are the really exciting development and are already being tested in Finland. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/18/self-driving-buses-helsinki

      1. Interesting for me is insurance. If the safety aspect can be dealt with and driverless cars have fatalities that are a rounding error, the price of insurance premium for human drivers would presumably go through the roof, effectively a cost that breaks the camels back and makes buying a car uneconomical.

        Anyway, IMO, ride-share will replace a lot of private cars and taxis, and driverless cars will in turn replace rideshare. I don’t see much negative impact on the need for mass transit on certain corridors where, initially at least, everyone is going to and from points along the same line (e.g. a train line). Its not like everyone will stop using the train and instead go by a driverless car. You are back to square one with spatial inefficiency, eventually, regardless if the width of the car shrinks.

  6. I’m curious about how quickly uptake will happen in NZ. I imagine there will be quite a long period before there is a strong enough second hand market for those who can’t afford (or don’t wish to spend much on) a new car. My guess is it will be 20-30 years after the first cars before we see the benefits of a near 100% driverless fleet, just based on the age of the current fleet. Will there be any incentives or barrier to people upgrading faster than this?

    1. Good question. To frame ideas, define a Fully Autonomous Vehicle (FAV for short) as one that can travel anywhere on the road network, in any weather or traffic conditions, with no-one on board. Now ask yourself:

      (i) In which decade will FAVs first be available for general sale in NZ?
      (ii) In which decade will FAVs first account for over 10% of new vehicle registrations in NZ?
      (iii) In which decade will FAVs first account for over 80% of road traffic in NZ?

      My answers, for what they’re worth: (i) the 2030s; (ii) the 2050s; (iii) sometime after 2080. Would be interested to hear other ideas.

      Note that many of the benefits of driverless vehicles will be realised only after (iii).

  7. Flawed study, it seems. (I havent read it all)
    First, it’s a mistake to assume driverless cars will be similar to cars with drivers. Not correct. Little glass pods are much more space efficient (like 1/3rd). Better still, we electrify the roads and avoid the need for batteries & motors. Linking up together, they will form ‘trains’. If you want to see examples these sort of ‘practical design’ vehicles in action, look at the array of weird and wonderful contraptions at your local airport. Not much wasted metal in those.
    Second, the silence, travel efficiencies, lack of pollution, avoidance of hazards, etc will mean we’d need at least 300% Intelligent EVs on the road to generate the same adverse effects as our current fleet. (i’d like to know the differnce in congestion between a motorway with no incidents or roadworks, in dry weather on an average day, versus one with a crash or serious roadwork incident…i’d suggest incident avoidance alone would make travel so much faster for us).

    Third, people forget that public transport will need to radically change to be able to match the comfort and convenince of a car (even a contemporary one). Will future buses be somehow adding jacuzzis and cocktail bars to compete with the high level of comfort, ambience and potential productivity one could experience in a silent, automated vehicle?

    Basically I think this study was not necessary. Simply watching a scene from Minority Report, Fifth Element or even the Jetsons will prove that loads of traffic will be present in th efuture, but everything moving quickly and efficiently.

    1. “Simply watching a scene from Minority Report, Fifth Element or even the Jetsons will prove that loads of traffic will be present in th efuture, but everything moving quickly and efficiently.”

      They are fiction Ak-Sam. They prove nothing. It really is important to differentiate between fiction and reality…unless you are employing sarcasm in some obscure way.

  8. I still don’t get how driverless cars are supposed to reduce congestion at all. The “closer following distances/higher speeds” argument is really applicable only to special AV-only motorway lanes; it would never work in mixed traffic with human drivers (not to mention cyclists and pedestrians) present.

    On the other hand, it’s easy to think of ways that driverless cars might increase congestion: new uses for cars (like taking the kids to school without having to drive them yourself); mode-switching from PT; driving as a low-cost substitute for parking; and rigid compliance with speed limits, to name just a few.

  9. Let’s not forget what are the most popular vehicles in NZ at present – twin cab utes and 4 x 4s – There is only one car in the top 10 selling vehicles. Which brings up a major question – will FAVs every get to the stage where they can cart a tradesman and his tools around during the week, and then tow the boat or caravan to the beach for the weekend, or a farmer and his gear and animals around.

  10. I guess driverless cars are exciting if driving is as satisfying and potentially as terrifying as visiting a dentist and secondly if one is into microwave ovens as a hobby.

  11. Ride sharing; why will it be appreciably more popular in an AV than a conventional car?

    I shared a ride with 3 family members last night. We all started from the same place at the same (desired) time and to the same destination. As soon as any one of those 3 conditions is not met a ride share is degraded in quality. Having said that, I ride-shared for a number of years in the UK. Same destination, starting points some 10 km apart, negotiated departure times.

    1. Exactly. Additionally one urban form that is seriously ill-suited to ride-share is a more dispersed one, with people at one point more likely to be heading in different directions.

      However the theory is that a really significant price differential will improve the conditions for ride-share. Perhaps, but getting to that with all new vehicles and technology looks like a rather big leap in a society with such a high private vehicle ownership rate. It can surely only happen with a big disruption in private vehicle ownership. This looks quite distant. Or at least not without serious financial imperatives, like very high road use or parking taxes…?

    2. I would say that I don’t think AVs will reduce congestion, possibly make it worse. BUT there are so many assumptions that we are making.

      Why are you are assuming that AVs might work the same as a normal car in terms of ride-sharing. This may not be true.

      Are you assuming that you are using the same car with the same people, always leaving at the same agreed time to the same agreed destinations? This may not be true.

      You don’t need a driver and you may not need to even own a car at all. No need to argue where to meet, who will drive, whose car to use, where it will be parke etc. These are some of the hassles of ride sharing. Many of these are mitigated by AVs.

      You could have 100 car owners who ditch their cars and end up as subscribers of a car-share/ride-share scheme with a pool of 80-120 AVs. As long as the majority of their trip is shared, then you are automatically reducing congestion with fewer overall distance traveled even if total vehicles have increased. But it could also be less. Plus many roads have plenty of capacity at various times of the day.

      1. “Why are you are assuming that AVs might work the same as a normal car in terms of ride-sharing.”

        I’m not. What I have stated is that if the parties involved in a ride share do not share the same starting point, desired departure time and arrival point the service is degraded. It will be inferior in quality to a single person trip.That is totally independent of the type of vehicle and independent of whether the arrangement is longstanding or different for each trip.

        “As long as the majority of their trip is shared, then you are automatically reducing congestion”

        Heroic assumption. Firstly it depends on what the baseline assumption is. If those participating in the ride share have, for example, switched from PT (on the basis that it is low cost, they don’t need to buy a vehicle and it offers a door-to-door service) then it is hard to see how road congestion will decrease. Secondly, until we have road pricing congestion provides the greatest brake on more road usage. An equilibrium level of congestion is established. I see no reason why a temporary decrease in congestion effected by a takeup in ride sharing will not act as a signal for more people to switch to cars from other modes or consider moving further out and travelleing by car. “All other things being equal” just isn’t going to cut it because they won’t be.

        But why would a reduction in congestion be a motivator for individuals to take up ride sharing? It isn’t at the moment so why would it be in the future? Is there going to be an outbreak of mass altruism?

        The only significant motivation to share a ride rather than take an individual ride is that the former will cost less (but sharing a ride with one other will invariably cost more than half the cost of taking a single-person ride). The demotivators will be that you have to compromise on departure time and may have to travel out of your way (and hence take longer). You may also have to wait to pick up others as they are not quite ready etc etc. My observations over the last few years is that, in general, people pay a lot for convenience (how else do you account for the price of bottled water?) and the corollary of that is that they will be unwilling to give up convenience in return for some cost saving.

        From my standpoint the most significant benefits of AVs will be a decrease in the safety risks associated with travel by road (which are currently very substantial) and the ability to be able to meet the family’s transport needs with fewer owned vehicles, possibly only one instead of four.

      2. Fair points. I already stated lots of assumptions were being made. And of course they could be all wrong. I agree though, some people are willing to pay more for convenience. Some people will find ride-sharing more convenient than PT or a private vehicle. Not everyone.

        I never said that a drop in congestion would be a motivator. In my original post nearer the top I said congestion could get a whole lot worse. It all depends on how AVs are used. My assumption is that AV’s will cost more than PT but less than owning a car and anyone using PT may not switch to ride sharing but there may be some people who switch to from SOV to ride sharing to save money.

        There is no knowing how people will respond because we all have different needs.

        1. “My assumption is that AV’s will cost more than PT but less than owning a car”

          Curious as to why you think that AVs will cost less than owning a car (they may be but I have not seen a convincing argument as to why). What is it about having a driver that takes up no space in the vehicle and has negligible opex that will, ipso facto, make using an AV (in taxi fashion) cheaper than owning a car and driving yourself? I have seen several statements on this blog to the effect that if AV use is very low cost why would anyone own a car….but why would AV use be very low cost? Demand in peak times is invariably going to exceed supply so even if the cost is relatively low, the price at such times will not be.

  12. ” Interestingly walking & cycling mode share is projected to decline from 18% in the baseline scenario to 8% with the new vehicles.”

    Well, it declines to 8% in ALL scenarios. Not in even one does it vary. For me, that seems suspiciously like they had this discussion:

    “Hey, could this make some people switch FROM walking and cycling?”

    “Yeah… could be.”

    “We need to include that, then.”

    “Okay, how about we globally reduce it to 8% in all scenarios?”

    “Sure, sounds good. Lunch?”

      1. Pity to waste all that coding effort. After lunch how about we modify the model and turn it into a game; “Grand Jaywalk Pedestrian” or maybe “Cyclo-anarchy”…points for how many AVs the gamer can FU….start with PCs then port it across to Playstation and XBox. Could make some serious money…and then there are the spinoffs – a movie, maybe – “Majority Report” or flashmobs doing the “life imitating art” thing (with commercial sponsorship, of course).

    1. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” CEO of IBM 1943

      Having said that, I don’t disagree that it will take a long while for people to own AV’s, especially in NZ.
      But that is a big assumption that private companies or even the car manufacturers themselves won’t start car-pool subscriber services much, much sooner within the inner CBD. I would see the car companies doing it to get people familiar with AVs before they buy them.

  13. I think the key is that 100% of vehicles of all sizes on the road (from single passenger to 100 passenger and everything in between) need to be autonomous and tied into a single ride share cloud/AI… and B… ride requests are not all door-to-door. When you place a request you can specify how much you’re willing to walk (call it a walk radius). So for a dirt cheap ride you could request as much as a 1KM walk radius on both ends. Such request would likely be fulfilled by a high capacity vehicle with a lot of other unknown passengers. The tighter your requested walk radius is (a little as zero walking… true door-to-door) the more expensive the ride. Such a request would likely be fulfilled by a very small vehicle and few (or zero) other passengers sharing the ride at the same time. And everything in between. But that would be a long way off. Anyway… just brainstorming. Also this idea probably only makes sense at scale… like probably tens or even hundreds of thousands of streaming ride requests that the AI maps and fulfills in real time.

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