As you read this, a nondescript Prius is logging mile after mile on highways across California. And while it looks and travels like any other car, there is a key difference: it is without a driver. Our brightest minds and deepest coffers are relentlessly pursuing the dream of self-driving cars. Google has clocked upwards of 1.5 million self-driven car miles. Autonomous vehicle technology was a constant theme of the 2017 Detroit auto show, which included test drives of self-driven vehicles and introduced the VW autonomous minivan of the future. It is only a matter of time before the technology becomes ready for mass adoption.
As is the case with most new technologies, various claims are being made about the benefits of this new mode of transportation. From the capacity of our roads, to the speed of safe travel and even the ownership structure of our vehicles; everything is being re-imagined. As a firm committed to the health of our built and natural environments, we are attempting to untangle a simple question: