“When Henry Ford introduced the Model T over a hundred years ago, people could not have anticipated the impact of automobiles on their world,” notes Henry Okraglik. What we can be sure about is that the driverless car phenomenon is fast upon us.

There is a split in opinion amidst our experts over whether autonomous cars will need dedicated lanes during the transition. Here are the two sides of the argument:

Dedicated Lanes

The worry is that drivers of traditional vehicles won’t be used to driving with driverless cars: “AV will allow us to increase the capacity in driving lanes. “So at the beginning, we may have one lane with AVs and one without. People will need to get accustomed to driving alongside self-driving vehicles,” says Scott Shogan, Connected/Automated Vehicle Market Leader at WSP in the US.

No Dedicated Lanes

On the other hand, Jan Hellåker, Program Director at Drive Sweden, doesn’t think we will build dedicated lanes for self-driving vehicles: “We won’t build new roads. We already have dedicated lanes for bikes and city buses. Autonomous vehicles will run on these bus lanes,” he says.

Here are some of the other changes that we think are coming:

Parking

If the car can drop you off directly at the front door and then go park itself, proximity no longer matters. Land currently occupied by parking lots can be repurposed, and cars can park themselves in facilities under buildings, or elsewhere remotely located. Wasting time looking for parking will be a thing of the past.

Road Signage

People need road signs when they’re driving to know what the speed limit is, what exits are coming up, the names of streets, whether to yield, if there are hazards up ahead – but autonomous cars don’t see signs. They’ll read the GPS map to learn this information.

Driver's Licences

If the car is driving itself, will we still need to learn how to drive and get a licence? While there will likely be a transition period, this classic teenage rite of passage may become obsolete.

Car Insurance

If the car is driving itself, who is responsible if it crashes? We’re going to have to reconsider where the liability lies. With 9 in 10 accidents being caused by the driver, there are going to be far fewer car crashes – and that means car insurance should get a lot cheaper.


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