A new study is suggesting a radical new attempt to tackle the climate change problem: use driverless vehicles to slash vehicle emissions.
Driverless vehicles are all the rage, but for the most part the talk is about their safety and convenience. A new study, however, is suggesting that they be used for an entirely different purpose: cutting vehicle emissions in an attempt to deal with climate change.
The study, published in Nature Climate Change by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggest a future where electric-powered robocabs, or autonomous taxis, are tasked with picking up a matching number of passengers, according to a Washington Post report.
Basically, this would allow difference sizes of driverless cab that could be deployed depending on the occupancy need, also called “right-sizing.” This would make it cost-effective for both owners and passengers. And because smaller vehicles save energy, making sure that only the size of car that is needed is sent could drastically cut back on vehicle emissions. Also, the cars would be electric, and would thus be powered with renewable energy, and would be able to travel many more miles per year.
The researchers believe this could be a solid business model, and one that could be implemented by the year 2030, when autonomous taxis are likely to be much cleaner than current cars and even hybrids. In fact, the researchers estimate that the reduction could be as much as 87 to 94 percent over standard cars, and 63 to 82 percent over future hybrids.
It’s not the first time scientists have proposed autonomous taxis to handle passenger loads in major cities. Other studies have indicated that up to 9 out of 10 current cards could be eliminated from the road by doing this by simply combining such robocabs with public transport such as buses and trains.