Earth Talk: Environmental implications of ‘driverless cars’

Just a decade ago most of us wouldn’t have dreamed we’d live to see driverless cars whisking people around, but things are changing fast and analysts now think they will be common by 2020 and account for the majority of cars on the road by 2040. And with Google’s recent unveiling of its latest prototype – complete with no pedals or steering wheel – the future is indeed closer than we ever imagined.
Proponents argue that driverless cars – also called “autonomous cars” – are inherently more sustainable than their manned counterparts. For one, they say, once they are widely available many of us will forgo owning our own cars in favor of car-sharing, whereby the autonomous vehicle comes to you, charged and ready to go, as needed.