Paving the Way for a Smarter, Safer Future of Autonomous Vehicles

“The benefits are [AVs] enable movement without a driver’s license, and they ultimately will produce greater safety,” says Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar and founder of the New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO), an urban mobility nonprofit based in Washington, DC.

“Today, we as a society have accepted crazy fatality and accident rates,” Chase says. “And that will not be the case for autonomous vehicles.” Additionally, AVs could expand mobility “to people who are blind, people who have epilepsy, or people who are too young or too old.”

AVs could also reduce the number of cars on the road, freeing up space used for on-street and sheltered parking. In the United States, about 75.9% of people commute to work alone. As part of fee-based public transit systems with carbon incentives like congestion pricing, Chase says, automated rideshares and shuttle fleets could significantly decrease the 6.9 billion hours Americans spent in traffic in 2014 and reduce private car use.