Highly automated technologies, often called self-driving cars, promise a range of potential benefits.
Greater Road Safety
Automation can help reduce the number of crashes on our roads.
Government data identifies driver behavior or error as a factor in 94 percent of crashes, and self-driving vehicles can help reduce driver error.
Higher levels of autonomy have the potential to reduce risky and dangerous driver behaviors. The greatest promise may be reducing the devastation of impaired driving, which causes about one-third of road fatalities today.
Full automation offers more personal freedom.
People with disabilities, like the blind, are capable of self-sufficiency, and highly automated vehicles can help them live the life they want.
These vehicles can also enhance independence for seniors.
Ride-sharing of HAVs could reduce costs of personal transportation, providing more affordable mobility.
Automated driving systems could impact our pocketbooks in many ways.
HAVs can help avoid the costs of crashes, including medical bills, lost work time and vehicle repair.
Fewer crashes may reduce the costs of insurance.
Wide-scale deployment of HAVs could allow drivers to recapture time.
In the future, HAVs could offer the convenience of dropping vehicle occupants at their destination, whether an airport or shopping mall, while the vehicle parks itself.
In a fully automated vehicle, all occupants could safely pursue more productive or entertaining activities, like responding to email or watching a movie.
Several causes of traffic congestion could be addressed by HAVs.
Fewer crashes or fender benders mean fewer roadway backups.
HAVs maintain a safe and consistent distance between vehicles, helping to reduce the number of stop-and-go waves that produce road congestion.
HAVs have the potential to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.
Fewer traffic jams save fuel and reduce greenhouse gases from needless idling.
Automation – and car-sharing -- may spur more demand for all types of electric vehicles. When the vehicle is used more hours a day through car-sharing, any up-front battery costs could be shared also, increasing the economic appeal of electric cars.