Self-Driving Technologies Should Start Small, Go Slow
Many young urbanites don’t want to own a car, and unlike earlier generations, they don’t have to rely on mass transit. Instead they treat mobility as a service: when they need to travel significant distances, say, more than 5 miles (8 kilometers), they use their phones to summon an Uber (or a car from a similar ride-sharing company).
The problem is that today’s mobility-as-a-service ecosystem often doesn’t do a good job covering intermediate distances, say a few miles. Hiring an Uber or Lyft for such short trips proves frustratingly expensive, and riding a scooter or bike more than a mile or so can be taxing to many people.
Many of these intermediate-distance trips take place in environments with limited traffic, such as university campuses and industrial parks, where it is now both economically reasonable and technologically possible to deploy small, lowspeed autonomous vehicles powered by electricity.
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Article written by Shaoshan Liu and Jean-Luc Gaudiot.