World-wide there are more than 1.2 billion cars on the road. With the global population reaching 7 billion in 2011 and some predicting a global population of 11 billion by 2050, we face serious issues on our already congested planet.
We already know that in cities like Auckland some people spend up to a whole working day each week in traffic jams, searching for car parks and commuting to work.
With safer, scientifically tested ‘Autonomous Vehicles’ (AV) our future may look very different. Because AV can drive in pods or platoons on dedicated roading, they need much less space. Their routing and driving style can be centrally controlled and optimised. This enhanced ability will go a long way to help minimise congestion, reduce accidents and increase the longevity of roading infrastructure.
Transport tech company Uber estimates that New York City could reduce the amount of taxis it needs by a factor of ten using AV taxis. While increased uptake in autonomous private cars will also contribute to improvements in the safety and efficiency of our roads, major impact will be felt when vehicles which drive the same route regularly adopt AV technology. Vehicles that transit from the same point A to the same point B as part of their regular work schedule, for example most logging trucks in Northland, stand to benefit the most from deploying AV.
On the road to NorthPort near Whangarei, with over 800 truck movements a day, the use of AV vehicles would mean significantly improved safety, better efficiency of delivery, less fuel consumption and reduced roading wear down. The Northland Transport Technology Testbed (N3T) a business unit of NIC is enabling testing of autonomous, driver
assisted logging trucks in designated AV test areas.
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