Nevertheless, beyond the technological stake, the take-off of the self-driving car market faces numerous issues, which are currently either
- Legal: who will handle accident responsibility?
- Cultural: different surveys show there is not any real demand from end users for these self-driving cars.
- Financial: interrogations also emerged around the infrastructure funding.
The autonomous car will be considered as a platform where additional services will be provided on the top of it.
Moreover, servicisation make it possible even to modify the consumption scheme itself, as it allows the introduction of a car-as-a-service model, which will potentially lead to the end of vehicle ownership. Leasing and car sharing are today gaining traction but the autonomous vehicle should reinforce this trend. In the US, according to an Edmund report, lease volume reached an all-time high of 4.3 million units in 2016, capping a five-year period over which leases have grown by 91 percent.
Shared-car services introduced by Uber and Lyft are leading a trend to purchase mobility services instead of owning the means of transportation. In general, car-as-a-service includes a variety of options for customers as described below, allowing them to choose the vehicles and itineraries that best suit their demands for different occasions.
Through mobile apps, these services collect the non-identifiable personal information, location and trip data. Combined with real-time traffic data and information from participating drivers, car-as-a-service differentiates itself from regular mobility services of the likes of a taxi by dynamic rerouting and pricing, which have more time- and cost-savings for users.
Apart from independent players like Uber and other companies that provide a platform that connects car drivers with customers, car-sharing services have also lured major manufacturers including GM, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.
The introduction of autonomous on road will therefore have impacts on transportation consumption but also on the overall ecosystem.
Different interrogations are raised about how “smart city” and smart car will be linked. Urban territories are often said to be involved in the funding of the related architecture.
For several years now, cities have been reviewing their public policies regarding transportation, to:
- Change the modal split in transportation by restricting the use of individual cars and developing public transport systems, and so lessening cars’ stranglehold on urban traffic, optimising parking, reducing toxic emissions, etc.;
- Improving the time it takes to get from A to B, by offering residents alternatives to public transport which, despite all of the city’s efforts, cannot meet all of users’ requirements.
Beyond transportation, autonomous vehicles will also lead to additional societal impacts, in terms of urbanization, way of living.
With multimodal and smart ways of transportation, the territory landscape could be rethought and redesigned for a better way.