When driving is (partially) automated, people drive more

Researchers and industry executives, Government officials have long puzzled over how this could happen self-driving cars may be change the planet. If you could do something else while you were stuck in traffic, would it change the way you use your car? Would you be willing to live away from work? Alternatively, will the advent of shared self-driving cars urge you to get rid of your personal car for them Ubers subscriber, making flights more efficient?

Self-driving cars aren’t here yet, and they probably will be years or decades, before most Americans had access to the technology, which is still under development. But Scott Hardman thinks he’s found a way to look to the future. He’s a researcher at the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies and looks at how people respond to new fuels and travel technologies. If you want to know how humans might travel a decade from now, he thinks it’s helpful to study the partially automated car features that are now available, such as TeslaAutopilot.

Autopilot, along with Super Cruise from General Motors, Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, BMW’s Driving Assistant, and Ford’s Co-pilot 360, is an advanced driver assistance feature. These new systems will not do the driving for you, but they will help you. Depending on the system, they may automatically stay inside and change lanes, hit the brakes, or veer off something on the road. Two important caveats: Most systems are built to run on relatively uncomplicated highways. And the person behind the wheel is He’s supposed to be attentive, ready to take control.

at Paper published earlier this yearHardman interviewed 35 people who own Teslas with Autopilot, and found that most people think the feature makes driving less awful. “The perception of drivers is that it takes a large part of the driving task, so they feel more relaxed, less tired, and less stressed,” Hardman says. “It reduces the cognitive burden of leadership.”

at New research released this monthHardman and postdoctoral researcher Debabria Chakraborty suggest that making driving less egregious leads to a corollary: more driving. Using data from a survey of 630 Tesla owners, with and without autopilot, the researchers found that drivers with partial automation drive an average of 4,888 miles per year than comparable owners without this feature. The analysis took into account income and mobility, along with the type of society the car owners live in.

Extrapolating this result to a wider population, it may be that partially automated vehicles are already affecting how people travel, live, consume resources, and affect the climate. For governments, who have to anticipate future infrastructure requirements, understanding these changes is critical. Changing navigation patterns can affect Public transportation Budgets and schedules for road maintenance. More miles traveled means infrastructure takes more hits. If it’s electric cars that travel, then governments I still haven’t quite figured out how to charge her for it. And while electric vehicles like Teslas rely on cleaner energy than those gas-guzzlers, the electricity still has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere isn’t always a renewable source. country made up of Increasingly sprawling communities, where people carelessly travel hundreds of miles via self-driving vehicles or some type of self-driving vehicle to get to work or play, is not an effective or sustainable method.

The new research suggests that partial automation could have advantages, too. Hardman and Chakraborty found that the bulk of the thousands of extra miles that autopilot drivers drove each year occurred on long weekend trips. Before autopilot, these drivers may have chosen to fly, which would have happened More greenhouse gas emissions. In the end, their decision to stick to the road is likely the most climate-friendly option.

A Nissan spokesperson said the automaker had no data on the travel behavior of users of ProPilot Assist technology. A GM spokesman declined to comment on the study. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

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