By Bayle Emlein
Las Vegas, NV, is many things, many of which can stay in Vegas. A few need to be noted world wide. Las Vegas is proud to operate public facilities 100% on renewable energy. This in one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
At the same time that the population is growing, Las Vegas hosts a number of visitors equivalent to a Super Bowl. Weekly. If you've ever tried to get a taxi during CES, you'll have no problem believing that. Las Vegas envisions itself as a leader in moving people safely and efficiently. The Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility is focusing on local--neighborhood--transportation, the daily going to and fro of life. In addition to Nevada, Michigan, Colorado, and Utah--and the national government of the UK--are proactively exploring implementation of autonomous public transportation with the goals of improving safety, convenience, and the variety of people (the young, the elderly, folks with disabilities) who can travel independently.
Local Motors is changing the paradigm by co-creating the notion of locally sourcing local transportation. This starts with considering the input of all relevant parties, not necessarily incorporating every guess or trying to do more of the same. More traffic is not better, more careless driving is not better.
Low speed autonomous vehicles are in operation today. Almost half the parts are manufactured locally using 3-D printing. No more long-distance shipping of parts and vehicles, with the cost and environmental overhead. The nature of vehicle manufacture and distribution will change as radically as the change from horses to horsepower. Just as that revolution opened transportation to more people in unforeseen ways, autonomous vehicles will change who can get around independently and how. Automobile, truck, bus, and train: forms, creation, and usage will all be dramatically different in the very near future. Regulation and insurance are just two of the sectors that must readjust.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculates that 94% of traffic accidents in the US are caused by driver error. A well-designed autonomous system would not eliminate all accidents, but it would make a statistically significant difference. In response NHTSA has changed focus from reaction problems already noted to proactive policy and enforcement to ensure the safety of the American public. Yes, NHTSA.gov is actively seeking public input.
Lyft is partnering with GM to promote the demise of the private automobile. Founder Tim Burr predicts that within 5 years most trips in the US will not be person-operated. No more auto related expenses or traffic hassles. No license needed.