One Big Reason Driverless Cars Won't Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled
David Roberts writes about a future of autonomous vehicles, predicting an angle that hasn't been discussed in detail before, but seems all-too-obvious. Roberts is talking about advertising as a business model for the fleets of shared vehicles that many assume will drive individual, private transportation.
The signs of this eventuality are already apparent, writes Roberts, but here's the core of the prediction in its full realization:
So we have to at least consider the possibility that the future of transportation could be dominated by large fleets of shared, electric, autonomous vehicles funded by revenue from advertising — that our smart vehicles could become our next smartphones, tools to deliver our attention to advertisers.
The implications of this prediction don't just have consequence for the user experience of riding in a driverless car.
If shared fleets of autonomous vehicles come to be funded primarily by advertising, we will end up with an auto industry even more committed to auto supremacy than the current one — at best a reluctant partner in any effort to make cities denser and more livable, at worst a committed foe.