Removing up to 9 of every 10 cars from the road is the promise of sharing automated vehicles, according to University of Texas, Austin research from Dan Fagnant and Dr. Kara Kockelman. In the above interview, Fagnant, now an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Utah, discusses what he means by Shared Automated Vehicle (SAV). In their modeling, they found that private investors could achieve a return on investment of 43%, even with a $70,000 base price for the automated vehicle.
Their research paper details their SAV model and discusses the implications of such a service in Austin, Texas. Fagnent and Kockelman looked at real-world streets, modeling things such as the routes, number of vehicles against parameters such wait time and vehicle miles traveled. One conclusion is that the SAV approach significantly reduces the amount of land required to support the automobile, freeing it up for other uses and offering the potential for more livable cities.
“Moreover, these results have substantial implications for parking and emissions. For example, if an SAV fleet is sized to replace 9.0 conventional vehicles for every SAV, total parking demand will fall by around 8 vehicle spaces per SAV (or possibly more, since the vehicles are largely in use during the daytime). These spaces would free up parking supply for privately held vehicles or other land uses. In this way, the land and costs of parking provision could shift to better uses, like parks and retail establishments, offices, wider sidewalks, bus parking, and bike lanes.”
Fagnant’s research could become the basis for a new type of subscription service by the likes of an organization outside the automotive world, such a Google, (described here) that melds vehicle sharing and automation into something that is more affordable, safer and enjoyable than today’s ownership/do-it-yourself vehicle paradigm.