Autonomous Cars Could Actually Make Car Sharing Work

Car sharing services like Zipcar have made living without a car in a city more manageable, but it's far from perfect. So what if, in the future, you borrow a driverless car to get where you're going? That might actually stop a lot of unnecessary cars from clogging the roads.

The Atlantic reported on a study by Stanford and MIT researchers that suggests the world's cities need might need as few as a third as many cars as they have now if driverless cars are the future. Which means if you're just going to and from work or running errands, you actually can relax in a Rinspeed XchangE that you've borrowed.

How so? Well, the study was also done with the help of Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology researchers, who determined based on calculations they could cut the Singapore passenger fleet from 800,000 cars to about 300,000 if driverless cars were strategically placed in dense areas. And that means no one would be fighting over a Zipcar at rush hour or trying to hail a taxi. It might even make not owning a car a reasonable possibility for most people.

OK, so the cutting the number of cars by roughly two-thirds won't work for every city, and this is probably terrible news for cab drivers of the future. And then there are people, like us, who actually like to drive every day and who will benefit from far more room on the roads.

This study sounds like good news for all parties. Well, except for cabs.

Photo: Rinspeed