Another point not taken into account when comparing manual and automated driving is the way safety is implemented. in current public transport, safety use an absolute vision of safety while in driven cars, it is highly probabilistic.
The main example, but it is not the only one is the criteria for the distance between cars. Trains respect the "brick wall" criteria. This means they admit that the preceding train can stop immediatly, as if i has zero speed. This failure scenario has been verified before in many accident. On the contrary, when we drive, we make the assumptions that the preceding car will brake as our car, so only the reaction time is taken into account.
Moreover, an automatic system will have to take into account many degraded parameters that it does not know. The state of its brake, the adherence level, the quality of brakes of the preceding car, accident, brutal failures, ... We currently does not really take those into account.
Thus, the increased safety of automated could come with a sharp decrease in efficiency. A trade-off will have to be found. And the safety may not increase a lot in this case.
The study cited is not meaningful in any practical way for two reasons: One, it assumes "autonomously-operating (without vehicle-to-X communication)" vehicles, which I don't think anyone is contemplating, in the medium to long term, i.e. when autonomous vehicles become common. Second, it is rather absurd to compare acceleration speeds of private vehicles in traffic to those of public transportation systems with almost full freedom in this parameter, and the inescapability of very gradual acceleration due to their weight. Cars on congested city thoroughfares will simply not match those acceleration rates, period, and nobody will expect them to. It is also a cheat to eliminate heavy road vehicles from the simulations, since last I noted, they exist. If the point was to prove that trains are more comfortable to work in than cars, I think we knew that.
I suspect that some of the groups responsible for publishing the study likely have biases against self-driving cars or, gasp, financial motivation for for showing reasons for not adopting them. A great deal of public money goes into planning for trains and buses. These people have spent their entire professional careers training and planning the use of conventional public transit options. Then this disruptive technology comes along and turns everything upside down. If fewer people need to rely on trains and buses, their roles as public planners are diminished, thus, less money goes to their departments, job cuts, etc.
The simplistic model does not account for highway use or that one stupid driver whom decides to turn left on a one or two lane road, blocking all traffic instead of driving one block further to get the dedicated turn lane. It does not account for the autonomous car's ability to redirect traffic well before reaching the intersection when said intersection becomes saturated.
The only reason for driverless cars in the city is to allow people to use their smart phones. Great idea for highway driving, as one could arrive rested or let auto handle the chores through the night. Could see long haul trucks pulling up to 10 trailers all linked together with electric power units added in as needed. Would make highways safer and bring down shipping costs.
Human can't help to fiddle with technology and progress. Yes even atomic bombs. Technology is here to stay and will get better over time. Having fear is healthy and good when put in its prospective but those who don't give credit when its due is just ignorance. Traffic lights are a great a example,totally automated.
This report is obviously only half done as it hasn't shown any real life studies. We all know about drawing boards in offices with no windows to reality.
studies like this are good reason to be very skeptical of academic studies, and of where your tax dollars go in supporting think tanks, and of the 501c3 structure generally.
there are so many obvious things to talk about the next 5-10 years of what is happening in the 'self driving' car area of technology and yet this study talks about things possibly happening 20 years from now.
this study fails to mention. 1) insurance rates on people generally 2) car hacking 3) gps location tracking sharing and the implications of this 4) basic highway driving augmentation tech as it stands to be used NOW in volvo and a few other models.
furthermore in the 'distant future' is is remarkeable the above study fails to mention perhaps the MOST important thing that will be affected PARKING PATTERNS. and then it fails to mention speeding tickets and the implications on the dramatic reduction in traffic police, fines, etc.... which implicates the FULL CONTROL, SOCIETY. where your vehicles don't afford you the choice to break rules.
Stephen N Russell
another issue is System Hacking by groups to disrupt trains & cars alone & whole system crashes unless autonomous cars have Built in cybersecurity factors alone Otherwise yes for the Pros,. alone
Norm Rhett
The assumption that occupants of a self-driving personal vehicle will expect train-like motion is not realistic. There is no good reason to get up and walk around in a moving car. If there were any change in expectation, it would be toward smoother, faster, and better coordinated motion than traffic currently exhibits. It's easy to tweak a model and, if necessary, change the assumptions until it produces newsworthy results.
Dave Brough
Why was it so important to replicate a 'rail-like' ride where half the passengers ride backward-facing and unrestrained, and thus would be thrown out of their seats with car-like acceleration? In a real-life car situation, occupants are belted in and facing forward, and in addition to the normal 2-second human lag, there are additional factors -- like putting the vehicle in gear (many people follow safety experts' advice and put their vehicle in park or neutral to avoid 'forward creep)'; many others are eating or putting on makeup; others are texting, and so on. The SDC 'suffers' none of those issues: Every vehicle in the queue would instantly accelerate, and using existing vehicle accelerations, would leave everything in its dust. This was a 'study' designed to have the SDC fail.