Google is one of many companies working on driverless cars.
With several different companies currently developing driverless cars it is only going to be a matter of time before autonomous vehicles become a common sight in towns and cities around the world.
Rather than everyone owning a car of their own however one of the most likely implementations of this technology will be in the roll-out of autonomous taxis or “robocabs” that, like in the science fiction movie ‘Total Recall’, can be summoned to take a passenger anywhere without the need for a driver.
In a recent study, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicated that driverless taxis will probably become commonplace by the year 2030 and that they could be particularly advantageous in tackling carbon emissions with an estimated reduction of 82%.
“Autonomous taxis make a promising early business case for connected and automated vehicles because they spread the purchase cost among many users and match appropriate vehicles to trip needs,” wrote Austin Brown of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Washington.
Further cost and pollution reductions could be made by offering single-seat taxis and by having the vehicles actively select the most economical route to the passenger’s destination.
“Most trips in the U.S. are taken singly, meaning one- or two-seat cars would satisfy most trips,” said researcher Jeffery Greenblatt. “That gives us a factor of two savings, since smaller vehicles means reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”