Driverless cars may limit environment benefits: Study

According to new research from the University of Leeds, the University of Washington and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in US, the actual impact may be complicated by how the technology changes our relationship with our cars. The study analyses self-driving technology combined with data on car and truck use, driver licenses and vehicle running costs to model the impact on energy demand of various levels of automation on US roads by 2050.  The study predicts that the very attractiveness of self-driving technology could outweigh the efficiency gains.  It estimates a 5 to 60 per cent increase in car energy consumption due to people choosing to use highly automated cars in situations where they would have previously taken alternative transport (eg trains or planes).