Lyft and Uber might be a hot concept now, but in a couple years human drivers and chauffer might just become extinct completely.
Just as how the rideshare phenomenon is squashing the traditional taxi industry, ‘taxibots’ may do the same to Uber and Lyft drivers. The problem with human drivers is just that—they’re human. Robotics and computers are expected to overtake several sectors, including the services industry and just about everything that’s manufacturing-related. The reason is quite simple; robots and computers cost less to maintain and operate.
In addition to their cost-cutting benefits, robots could also help free up resources in other areas. According a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, ‘taxitbots’ could help to slash away 90% of cars on the road. That’s a staggering drop in traffic congestion and fuel usage.
Self-driven communal taxis would reduce the number even more. When the researchers ran a simulation of how self-driven communal taxis would affect traffic in Lisbon, they found that even if there’s only one passenger per ride, the number of cars still drop by 77%. And in densely populated cities, the installation of taxibots and self-driven communal taxis could free up parking spaces equivalent to over 200 soccer fields.
Google, Alibaba, and even Apple is reportedly developing some sort of self-driven cars, and that’s a telling sign of what’s to come.