We often get the questions about when AVs will arrive – and although that date seems closer and closer — (see our post here about car manufacturers plans, here about level 4 automation in Phoenix last November, here about GM’s request for federal approval for a fleet of level 4 AVs to be rolled out in 2019, and here for an article about Waymo’s recent order of thousands of Pacifica vans they will be deploying as AVs around the country) — we like to point out that AVs, or more precisely the model of how we will use AVs, is already prevalent throughout the country in the form of TNCs.
Transportation Network Companies like Uber, Lyft, Via and Chariot are examples of exactly how we will be using AVs, just with drivers in them. The mobile apps, the on-demand nature, the sometimes limited contact with anyone easily map onto the AV future.
The implication for this is that we can be studying the impacts of TNCs to get a sense of what the impacts of AVs will be. Recent reports from Bruce Schaller, Susan Shaheen, and UC Davis’ 3 Revolutions on the impacts of TNCs on travel behavior and mode choice can be seen as early predictors of the future we will have with AVs.
For cities wondering what the future will look like, it has already arrived. Just take a look at TNC impacts.