Greater Road Safety
Government data identifies driver behavior or error as a factor in 94 percent of crashes. For example, fatigued drivers are twice as likely to make mistakes, according to NHTSA. Driver-assist technologies like blind spot monitoring and lane departure warnings can help avoid crashes, and the most common crash — rear-end collisions — is projected to decline dramatically as automated emergency braking is more widely deployed. Higher levels of autonomy have the potential to reduce risky and dangerous driver behaviors. The greatest promise may be reducing the devastation of impaired driving, which causes approximately one-third of road fatalities today. In a fully automated vehicle, all occupants could safely pursue more productive activities, like responding to email.
Fewer crashes or fender benders mean fewer roadway backups. AVs are programmed to maintain a safe and consistent distance between vehicles, which can help to reduce the number of stop-and-go waves that produce road congestion for no apparent reason. Researchers at the University of Texas predict that tightly spaced platoons of AVs could reduce congestion-related delays by 60 percent on highways.
Fewer traffic jams save fuel and reduce greenhouse gases from needless idling. Automated driving systems may reduce unnecessary braking and acceleration that waste fuel. Vehicles with fully automated driving systems may be able to travel more closely together, reducing air drag and thereby reducing fuel use. One estimate is that a highway platoon of automated vehicles could reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent. Automation – and car-sharing — may spur more demand for all types of electric vehicles. When the vehicle is used more hours a day through car-sharing, any up-front battery costs could be shared also, increasing the economic appeal of electric cars.
Less congestion means less commuting time. In the future, AVs could offer the convenience of dropping vehicle occupants at their destination, whether an airport or shopping mall, while the vehicle parks itself. Vehicle occupants could enjoy other diversions, like reading, sleeping or playing with children, in vehicles with the highest levels of automation. Using AVs, business fleets could optimize supply chains and transportation routes for more efficient deliveries at lower costs.
People with disabilities are capable of self-sufficiency, and automated vehicles can help them live the life they want. These vehicles can also enhance independence for older adults. Ride-sharing of AVs could reduce costs of personal transportation, providing more affordable mobility.
Better Land Use
Since AVs can operate closer together, they need less road space so highway capacity could be increased — without construction. AVs could lead to better land use. Automated cars used for ride sharing may reduce parking needs, especially in urban areas.
Enabling contactless delivery. COVID-19's health concerns have shown this to be more important than ever.
The United States is leading the technology race against other countries. Let’s keep it that way.
Investment & Economic Growth
AV development in the U.S. can lead to more investment and the creation of new jobs.
Filling the Gaps in Public Transit
In areas without public transportation, AVs can help serve people without cars. And can also serve to complete first and last mile connections to mass transit.