What are the advantages of autonomous vehicles?

As the technology, is advancing so are the benefits. The main Unique Selling proposition for Autonomous vehicles are its technological benefits and advantages for its targeted audience. As the targeted audience are in the luxury segment as per many expert reports but it’s still unsure about the revenue generation capability and the acceptance attitude among the audience.

The advantages which are potentially promised by the manufacturers are: –

Safety benefits- As per a report published in 2008, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2008) found out that 93 percent of US car accidents are due to human errors. A great potential in traffic safety is shown by Autonomous driving systems where the driver is enabled with all safety-critical functions in the system in regard to situations like fatigue, sickness or when it is being distracted. As per World Health Organization, 2013, report states that approximately 1.24 million people die across the world with 50 million people getting injured in car accidents. As per (Bickerstaffe, 2014; IHS Automotive, 2014; KPMG & CAR, 2012; Noor & Beiker, 2012), the accident rates are expected to reduce to zero percent in fully automated cars. 

Saving time- The time can be saved in passengers and other vehicles with the help of Automated cars via several functions. As per Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013, the route choice was optimized due to updated traffic information from other passenger vehicles so that the desired destinations can be reached faster than the human drivers. According to Anderson et al., 2014, accident rates can be reduced through automated vehicles thereby congestion and participant travel time can be reduced. 

Decision forecasting- Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication are enabled in developed cars by automobile infrastructure. (Anderson et al., 2014; Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013; KPMG & CAR, 2012). Vehicles are sensed by V2V so that leading vehicle’s decisions can be anticipated to accelerate and brake and then declines it. (Anderson et al., 2014; KPMG & CAR, 2012).

Speed adjustments– As per Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013, traffic can be destabilized by shockwave propagation by anticipating speed adjustments by following others and when traffic lights are approached. But it is expected that autonomous vehicles can drive by being close to each other and thereby a utilization rate of the current infrastructure is enabled as per (Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013; Tientrakool, Ho, & Maxemchuk, 2011).

Increase in highway capacity- As per Tientrakool, Ho, & Maxemchuk (2011), adaptive cruise control (ACC) are used in all vehicles and uses sensors for automatic brake which increases the highway capacity from 43 up to 273 percent and the congested traffic speed is increased by 8 to 13 percent. Additionally, autonomous cars are enabled with Vehicle-2-Infrastructure for optimizing speed, acceleration and braking adjustments as per the traffic information from traffic lights and other infrastructure (Anderson et al., 2014). 

Self-parking functionalities- As per Fagnant & Kockelman, 2014; IHS Automotive, 2014, automated vehicles are evolved in two levels. Self-parking is commercially available in the first level where the driver is required to accelerate, speed and manual break as the car takes over steering into the gap. (IHS Automotive, 2014). The second level is the autopilot mode for parking space to be found and retrieve it from interaction without driver presence (IHS Automotive, 2014). Usually, 30 percent of the traffic is due to finding a parking place for the occupant’s desired destination. (Shoup (2005)) In autonomous vehicles, drivers can ask the vehicle to find a cheaper parking area which leads to saving the amount of time and money and also reducing the minor damages due to parking accidents. (Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013; Ferreras, 2014; IHS Automotive, 2014; Knight, 2012; KPMG & CAR, 2012).

Cost of time reduced- As per Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013; IHS Automotive, 2014; KPMG & CAR, 2012, it has been agreed by the experts that, elderly, young or sick people are driven around in rural areas by parents or friends aimlessly. These can be reduced drastically by driverless cars people. 

Saving fuel- Fuel reduction is enabled by using Vehicle-2-Vehicle and Vehicle-2-Infrastructure helping to anticipate the driving actions (Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013) but Atiyeh (2012) speculated that by 23 to 23 percent rise may be perceived in fuel economy through automated vehicles, Vehicle-2-Vehicle and Vehicle-2-Infrastructure. As per Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013, fuel savings are possible with higher utilization of roads, autonomous vehicles’ ability to closely travel together and air resistance to reduce with shared slipstreams. 

Lessen environmental damage- As per Anderson et al., 2014; Ferreras, 2014; KPMG & CAR, 2012, the study showed the positive result of automated vehicle’s fuel economy leading to lessen environmental damage from reduced greenhouse emissions and air pollution to be lowered with a possibility for social costs to be reduced which is related to human health and climate change. 

Enhancing productivity- Even though it is quite a debatable topic about productivity to be enhanced but driverless cars involves people for a variety of activities like working, watching movies, reading or even sleeping or even transforming cars into mobile offices in job categories like salesperson where traveling is involved a lot as per Anderson et al., 2014; Fagnant & Kockelman, 2013; Kelly & CNN, 2014 & AG, 2014. The technology also provides the ability for reducing opportunity cost of time with a great potential for solving issues. 

Sources:-

Anderson, J. M., Nidhi, K., Stanley, K. D., Sorensen, P., Samaras, C., & Oluwatola, O. A. (2014). Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.
AG, R. (2014). Rinspeed – Creative think tank for the automotive industry. Where the future is reality – today. Retrieved from http://www.rinspeed.eu/concept-galery.php?cid=25
Atiyeh, C. (2012, June 25). Predicting Traffic Patterns, One Honda at a Time. MSN Auto.
Fagnant, D. J., & Kockelman, K. M. (2013). Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers and Policy Recommendations. Washington, DC: Eno Center for Transportation. Retrieved from http://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf
Ferreras, L. E. (2014). The Driverless City. Civil Engineering, 84(3), 52-55.
Kelly, H. & CNN. (2014, April 7). Driverless car tech gets serious at CES. CNN International. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/09/tech/innovation/self-driving-cars-ces/
Knight, W. (2012). Driverless Cars: Coming to Your Street Sooner Than You Think. Trends Magazine, 115, 26-31.
KPMG & CAR. (2012). Self-driving cars: The next revolution. KPMG. Retrieved from http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf
Shoup, D. C. (2005). The high cost of free parking. Chicago: Planners Press, American Planning Association.
Tientrakool, P., Ho, Y.-C., & Maxemchuk, N. F. (2011). Highway Capacity Benefits from Using Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication and Sensors for Collision Avoidance. San Francisco, CA: IEEE.

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