While advances in autonomous technology may net additional jobs in the trucking sector, without thoughtful public policy and a commitment to equitable private practices, they may end up being some of the worst the industry has to offer, and come at the expense of jobs at the higher-end of the pay spectrum, so says a new report by University of Pennsylvania researcher Steve Viscelli.
Although many car makers and future thinkers imagine the rapid adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles, a recent study, conducted at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis, suggests that buyers may not be so eager to own one. Significant barriers to adoption included the price point of the vehicles, distrust of the technology in general, and a fear of losing control over operation of the car.
Uber is testing new actions to help its drivers who use electric vehicles. The company says it wants to increase the number of electric vehicle trips it provides each year, as well as the charging infrastructure required to do this. Lyft is also looking to increase electric vehicle trips and already spends millions to purchase carbon offsets for every trip. What is the real incentive for Uber and Lyft behind these policies?
Chandler, AZ, may be the first city to recognize that apartment dwellers will need less parking in the future. In anticipation of autonomous vehicles, the city is changing its zoning code to loosen parking minimums in new buildings. Developers welcome such flexibility, as building parking can be expensive and AVs and other emerging technologies, such as ridesharing and bikesharing, are reducing the need for tenants to own personal cars.
A pair of recent studies suggests that autonomous vehicles will revolutionize how vehicles park when not in use. As a result, parking structures will be able to hold far more vehicles than today, and some existing parking facilities may be repurposed to other uses and to take advantage of valuable urban land. Although not mentioned in the studies, AVs also will be less likely to be privately owned and will spend far less time parked than today’s vehicles do.
The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, launched in 2017 and spearheaded by the founder of ZipCar, has now added corporate signers to its ranks. At the same time, one car manufacturer has announced plans to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road as rideshare vehicles by 2019, signaling that the autonomous vehicle era is rapidly approaching.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released a guide for cities to prepare for a future with autonomous vehicles. Unlike their previous design guides this blueprint does not present specific design recommendations but instead lays out a vision of how to enhance the city with autonomous technology instead of simply adapting to it.
Along with other disruptions to the car industry, Tesla is now poised to change the auto insurance market. Tesla has partnered with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company to roll out a Tesla-specific insurance product. This may be just the first step in Tesla’s plans to integrate vehicle purchase, maintenance, and insurance. Such integration might begin to answer questions about liability posed by AVs.
Both the Senate and the House have bills out that would regulate AV testing, operation, and safety features. The Senate bill would preempt states from passing stricter laws and would apply the existing federal-state preemption framework, which mainly deals with the design, construction, and performance of vehicles, to automated vehicles. As written, the preemption language seems to be broader than the existing framework, because it would preempt any state or local law and regulation in nine areas, rather than just laws dealing with the design, construction, or performance of automated vehicles in those areas.
The coming of autonomous vehicles and the related increase in e-commerce deliveries promise to change many things: infrastructure, access and mobility, land consumption, emissions, retailing, urban form, and many more. It’s not clear that we will have policy in place to maximize the upsides and manage the downsides of these trends. A new report aims to prepare policy makers in one area that is sure to be affected—municipal budgets and finance.