Fully automated electric taxis could dramatically reduce transportation sector's emmisions, a new study finds. By Lindsay Abrams
The energy efficient cars of the future will allow the transportation sector to lower its greenhouse gas emissions not just because they’re electric — but because they’ll also be driverless.
“We found that, of all the variables we could consider, the use of autonomous vehicles as part of a shared transit system seemed to be the biggest lever that pointed to lower energy use per mile,” study co-author Jeffery Greenblatt, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said in a statement.
It makes sense: efficient as vehicular transport may be for the individual trying to get somewhere quickly, comfortably and with all her stuff in tow, anyone who’s ever been caught in rush hour traffic can attest that the way we use cars is wasteful. In the U.S. in 2009, 62 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled involved single drivers in cars built for additional passengers; matching passengers with cars sized to fit their needs, Greenblatt explains, ”gives us a factor of two savings, since smaller vehicles means reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.” MORE