Sunday, February 20, 2011

Robot Taxis

The Implications of Robot Cars and Taxis (Brad Templeton Blog)

The concept of a driverless, automated, emission free passenger vehicle is rapidly becoming a reality, as major car manufacturers (such as Volvo, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz) develop software and sensors to make such a transportation mode safe and efficient. An expert in this area, Brad Templeton, made a presentation to the Foresight 2010 Conference which is available for viewing HERE
One of the points he made compares the energy efficiency of Light Rail to a small electric scooter or cars in terms of BTUs per passenger mile as described in The End of Mass Transit .  As he points out, “Light Rail” does not mean light weight but only a light passenger capacity- the vehicle is quite heavy and requires more energy to drive than a small scooter.
Key Quotes:
“The cost of accidents is arguably the single largest component of the per-mile cost of driving a vehicle…cost per mile driven..range from 10 cents/mile .. to as high as 30 cents... More than wear and tear on the car”
Traffic congestion, caused by more than just accidents, wastes from 4 to 8 billion hours of people's time each year, and results in the burning of 6 billion gallons of extra fuel.”
“You don't even need your own garage for your own robocar. When it drops you at home, if you're not renting it out as a robotaxi, it can just find somewhere unobtrusive to sit,.Robocars could also refuel and recharge on their own”
“most trips for urban people can be in small, light electric vehicles…Small, light electric vehicles are vastly more energy efficient and less polluting than other cars”
“With the battery problem solved, electric cars are now the best urban transportation answer, and urban driving is 55% of all driving”
“Robocars will effectively be financed entirely by the private sector”

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