Albeit jobs will be lost, The Guardian's Jackie Ashley looks at the positive changes — and some of the negatives — that will result in society as a result of the wide-spread use of the self-driving car. It will be interesting to see how public transportation will re-invent itself once it no longer needs drivers.
So our streets will be clearer. And, because these will be electric cars, cleaner too. There will have to be vast new infrastructure systems – huge garages to store the cars so they can arrive quickly when ordered. I wonder whether local train services will survive. We may see a return to the Thatcherite proposal for railway lines to be turned into roads, this time for driverless cars.
As for buses, at the moment we have a largely undiscussed transport apartheid between car owners and bus users. But if driverless cars work then surely there will be driverless buses, which can be a lot smaller and more numerous than today’s diesel-spewing vehicles. At the other end of the scale, car sharing and car pooling, already popular, will expand: the distinction between somebody using a driverless minibus and driverless, large shared car could become meaningless.
Put all this together and I can imagine car ownership, and car driving, being frowned on as much as opening a packet of fags at a family gathering is now.
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