Toyota Researcher Says Autonomous Cars Will Boost Fuel Consumption

We, gearheads consider autonomous cars a joke, the FBI thinks they are a threat because terrorists could transform them into cruising bombs, and now scientists say they are also bad on the long term.
Lexus LS self driving mule 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Yeah, we can’t ignore the safety they provide as well as the congestion avoidance which implies less fuel burnt. But, at least the latter will be equalled by the fact that autonomous “driving” will push people travel further and consume even more fuel than normal in time.

Toyota senior principal scientist Ken Laberteaux discovered that making cars even easier to use might lead to urban sprawl and increased pollution as people will be encouraged to live farther from their workplace.

“U.S. history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things,” Laberteaux said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The pattern we’ve seen for a century is people turn more speed into more travel, rather than maybe saying ‘I’m going to use my reduced travel time by spending more time with my family.’”

A measure to counter the problem might be represented by discouraging self driving cars owners to commute from far distances via tolls, or simply give up on the idea of a car that drives itself.

Well, at least you won’t have to worry about Toyota, as the company said a car that will aid the driver and not replace him is what the researchers are working on.
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