The Economist has issued a fascinating series of "what if" articles including this one about autonomous cars. Much of the technology is already here and in use so the real hurdles are cultural and legal.
70% fewer cars than we have today? Surely we would all want that. Wouldn't we?
Cars are among the most expensive things most people own, yet they sit idle, on average, 96% of the time. That is justified by the convenience of having access to a car whenever you need it. These days, however, you can summon a car at will using a smartphone app for a taxi service, car-sharing scheme or rental provider. Google reckons that shared, self-driving taxis could have utilisation rates of more than 75%. If so, a much smaller number of cars would be needed to move the same number of people around. “There will be fewer cars on the road—perhaps just 30% of the cars we have today,”