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The future of the local transportation - an industry's revolution

Photo: Google Today's car industry is at a point of revolution. We are only at the start of this movement so we cannot yet see wher...

Photo: Google
Today's car industry is at a point of revolution. We are only at the start of this movement so we cannot yet see where it is headed and what this process's result will be. The driver-less function and the electrical power as the energy of the cars are not just convenience functions, but can totally transform our urban living as well. How will we live in the city if the electrical and driver-less cars will be a readily available option?

Electric cars are new but already today's choice if we want to buy a car. The driving range of electric cars is still not as much as that of a gasoline-powered car, but if we use the car for local transportation, this is not a big problem. Moreover, it has lots of benefits as well, such as easy maintenance, environment-friendly use, and charging which can be automated, even without a physical connection, through wireless charging.

More and more car manufacturers come out with different levels of driver-less functions of their produced vehicles. This is today's trend in the automobile industry. The entry-level of driver-less functions starts as assisted driving such as lane assist, but entirely autonomous driving is more and more available too.

What if the electric cars and fully autonomous driving achieve its raison d'etre, the primary purpose for its existence?  It can create a new local transportation industry. And it will change how we live.

Today, our personal cars are like our personal belongings; they are always with us, even when we are not using them. And we use our cars a small amount throughout the day. That is a waste of resources. How would the local transportation function if we would utilize the benefits of the electric and driverless cars? We won't need personal cars anymore. Cars will be available in a shared economy, meaning not shared as another person's possession, but rather as professional companies providing them as renter's cars, only for a local, actual trip. This would be similar to how today's taxi companies work, but without human drivers, even without human employees.

Main attributions of this economy:
Personal transportation will be cheaper.
We won't need to purchase cars.
We won't need to learn how to drive.
We won't have to find parking spaces.
We won't need to occupy the parking space around us.
We will have fewer accidents.
Local mass transportation would go extinct.
We will have cleaner environments.
We will have a smoother traffic flow.
We will have more personal time.
There will be no need for new and used car dealerships.
No need for auto insurance.
No need for gas stations.
No need for repair shops.
No need for car washing.
We will have more convenient and healthier lives.

So how would the imagined future local transportation industry work?

There will be only Internet-based taxi companies for personal transportation, like today's Uber, but without drivers, and the cars will be in the company's possession.
The company will have widely distributed but centralized parking garages where the charging can take place. These garages are already built since the existing, widely available garages won't need to be used anymore. These garages can be automated because only charging needs to be done.

We will need a few special garages where the regular maintenance and occasional fixing can be done, where personal staff may be required. Roadside assistance will still also be needed.

When a person needs local transportation, he will create a simple online request with the address where he or she wants to go and with how many people are in his company. The system calculates and sends the optimally available car, even considering carpooling. When the actual transportation is finished, the car goes to the next request, or to the closest available parking space where the charging can be made, or to necessary maintenance.

The transfer from today's transportation economy to this new method can be smooth, and it has already started. Electric cars, driver-less functions, and shared personal transportation companies are more and more available next to the already existing infrastructure like roads and parking garages. A reliable, totally driver-less electric car needs to be developed, but it is already on the road (see Google's car). Maybe the wireless charging needs to be developed still, but it is not a technological challenge; it is already used with smartphones. Smooth transfer to this new economy can take place as more and more availability can be provided cheaper and parallel with the regular, old type. The new technology can be less expensive than the regular even at the entry-level, considering the benefits of getting rid of unnecessary personal insurances and maintenance expenses by not owning a car.

It looks like everything is ready for the next industrial revolution which can transform our urban life.

But this revolution can affect non-local transportation as well because if I don't need a personal car for local transportation, I don't want to have one only for distance transportation either. The mass, distance transportation will gain more importance than today's, with all its benefits such as its efficiency and less road traffic. It will also get rid of its current disadvantages, such as having to figure out how to travel locally after distant travel. Because of the enhanced demand for distance mass transportation, its cost and availability will improve as well.

And all of this can happen in the close future.

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