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NBC Points out Six Ways Autonomous Cars Will Change the World

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【Summary】Self-driving cars will change a lot of things in the future, but these six may surprise you.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 29, 2018 9:15 AM PT
NBC Points out Six Ways Autonomous Cars Will Change the World
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

A move towards a fully-autonomous future will change a lot of things around the world. There should be fewer accidents, individuals that weren't able to get around will be able to travel, and traffic should become a thing of the past. While these are the obvious changes that are set to happen, there are some that we may not see coming. 


NBC News put together a list of ways driverless cars will change the world that you may not expect.


Fewer People Will Own A Car


At the moment, if you need a form of transportation to get around, you either purchase a vehicle or lease one. That's currently changing, as automakers, like BMW, have started to launch car subscription services where consumers can make a monthly payment and get access to the brand's entire lineup of vehicles whenever they want. 


Volvo's subscription service works a little differently and sees consumers pay a flat rate fee for insurance, maintenance, and one vehicle – a XC40 SUV. As more automakers move towards offering subscription services and companies like Uber and Lyft continue to offer an alternative way to get around, owning a car will become a thing of the past. 


As the outlet points out, as more companies move towards offering convenient transportation methods that are more affordable than owning a conventional car, fewer consumers will want to shell out the money to have an actual vehicle in their driveway at all times. 


"We're moving to a future where people don't own cars," said Dr. Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. "You'll have a subscription service, maybe, that emphasizes smaller vehicles, or you might want a cheaper service where it's a van." 


That doesn't mean traditional cars will vanish completely off of the road. As Dr. Alain Kornhauser, director of the program in transportation at Princeton University claims individuals living in rural areas will probably hold onto their vehicles, as getting a self-driving car to their location may take too much time and cost a lot of money. 


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Urban Areas Will Evolve


Driverless cars will bring great changes to cities. While living in an urban area may be a headache, that will change, as autonomous cars will force cities to change transportation methods, putting the focus back on pedestrians. "We've made the world rather unfriendly for people who are walking and biking; cars have essentially won," said Dr. Chris Gerdes, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University. 


As NBC News claims, driverless vehicles won't need as much space on the roads, allowing planners to make city roads smaller. That would open up space for more homes and pedestrians. Crossing the street would also be easier, as driverless cars would continuously be on the lookout instead of requiring pedestrians to walk the extra few blocks before the next crosswalk. 


Businesses Will Come To Consumers


Forget about traveling to the mall to get clothes or the latest iPhone. Autonomous vehicles will allow companies to have mobile offices and stores that bring goods to consumers instead of the other way around. As NBC points out, mobile gyms that pull directly into your driveway and let you work out are a possibility, as are clothing store retailers that bring clothes to you to try on. 


"You could try on a bunch of things you had requested, see what size works for you, and then the rest of it simply leaves at the end of your session," said Gerdes.


Getting groceries delivered to you is also a possibility in the future, as the outlet points towards California-based startup Robomart. The startup aims to bring on-demand mobile grocery stores directly to consumers. 


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People Will Be Able To Live More Independently


Driverless vehicles may appeal to millennials at the moment, but the machines offer more for the elderly, blind, and disabled. For "all those folks, this is basically a dream come true," said Kornhauser. Transportation methods for this these groups of individuals already exists, but it can be costly. And conventional taxi cab vehicles, as Dr. Srikanth Saripalli, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University, points out, aren't fitted to accommodate for wheelchairs.


Waymo is even conducting research with Braille and other forms of communication to interact with individuals that have visual impairments. That's more than what the majority of taxis on the road today have. 


The Amount Of Organ Donors Will Dwindle


This isn't a very happy fact, but NSBC News claims that roughly 13 percent of the organs that were used in donations came from individuals that died in automotive-related accidents. That figure is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce the amount of automotive fatalities, fewer people will die, which means that there will be a shortage of vital organs. 


The outlet claims that scientists are trying to find a solution by harvesting donor organs from pigs. They are also looking into lab-grown organs as an alternative, as well. 


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Living Further Away From Work Will Become A Possibility


Living in urban areas has always been the norm, as there are more job opportunities and higher paying positions in cities. But the allure of cheaper house prices and larger homes have drawn people to rural areas. This has created a situation where the majority of individuals are required to travel hours through heavy traffic to get to their jobs. Autonomous vehicles, though, will change this, as having the ability to sleep, read, or work on their way to their jobs will make long commutes easier to digest. 


Living further away from a job may become the norm, as autonomous vehicles will be able to handle the boring task of traveling through bumper-to-bumper traffic. On the other hand, as autonomous cars change the landscape of urban areas, more individuals may move to cities, as larger apartments, roads, and livable spaces arise. 


Autonomous cars are set to change a lot of things around the world, some of which will easily be recognized, while others may take people by surprise. 

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