There are around 1.4 billion cars in the world, and at the current rate, by the year 2036, this number could be doubled. And Approximately 1.3 million people die each year due to road traffic crashes.
Autonomous driving can save lives. According to the USDOT website: "With 94 percent of fatal vehicle crashes attributable to human error, the potential of autonomous vehicle technologies to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads urges us to action."
The House Energy and Commerce Committee website clarifies: "Self-driving cars are projected to reduce traffic deaths by 90%, saving 30,000 lives a year."
"Self-driving cars have the potential in the future to reduce deaths and injuries from car crashes, particularly those that result from driver distraction," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).
Most traffic jams are because, as humans, we cannot have an instant reaction and have short attention spans. This coordination limits how many cars can get through an intersection, and the ripple effect is that city-sized gridlock cascades happen, which take forever to clear.
A traffic jam can still appear even on the highway where there is no intersection and no accident. The phantom intersection can happen when a vehicle on the highway decreases its speed, and due to the slow reaction times of the human, the cars behind it will eventually come to a complete stop.
The study shows that with as few as 5% of the vehicles on the road being automated and carefully controlled, we can eliminate stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior. Since most of the traffic is caused by traffic accidents (traffic incidents cause up to 25% of congestion), autonomous driving can decrease the chance of traffic accidents and, by doing that, decrease traffic.
AVs would likely cut the travel time by up to 40% and recover up to 80 billion hours lost to commuting and congestion; These cost/time-saving benefits are expected to be worth about US$1.3 trillion in the country.
With the increased investment toward autonomous driving across the Globe, we can foresee L4- L5 AVs becoming more common within this decade.