We’ll Have Self-Driving Cars as Taxis by 2030

Because the technology is new, equipping a car with autonomous technology costs about $150,000 (the zero-emission fuel system comes standard).

Google is famous for investing in technologies that do not have a clear commercial purpose, but a recent study into autonomous vehicles suggests that the company's 20 self-driving cars may best serve as a fleet of taxis. 


At least it would make good economic sense, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and help the environment to boot. Google's 20 autonomous cars have logged over 1 million miles collectively and each car currently drives about 10,000 miles each week each. With this robust testing, researchers are comfortable formulating plans on how to deploy self-driven cars —

as taxis!

Because the technology is new, equipping a car with autonomous technology costs about $150,000 (the zero-emission fuel system comes standard). At this cost, an average driver who commutes about 12,000 miles per year would not recover that investment. But taxis, which drive between 40,000 and 70,000 miles per year, could.

The return on investment results from less fuel use and not having to pay a driver (not something all current taxi drivers would appreciate). Zero-emissions systems account for half the energy savings of a self-driving taxi fleet.

The other half comes from a practice called "right sizing" in which the appropriately sized vehicles arrives to pick you up. A single person will need a small autonomous car while a family leaving for vacation will require a larger, less fuel-efficient vehicle.

Princeton's Alain Kornhauser predicts that, by 2030, self-driving vehicles could help economize road miles by carpooling. As for Google's vehicles, they have yet to cause a single road accident. Watch this video to see how they're programmed to adjust to challenges as they arise:

Read more at Kurzweil AI.

Photo credits: Bloomberg/Getty, Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less