Yes, self-driving cars are revolutionary. But on-demand driverless cars? The changes would be so massive and fast and global, there’s almost nothing about daily transportation that wouldn’t change—mostly for the better.
Inexpensive robotic rides would mean there would be no particular reason to own a car. You wouldn’t have to buy one, maintain it, gas it up. You’d never be late because you had to push the snow off the windshield or shovel your driveway.
When you get into a robo-car, you won’t have to wait for it to heat up in the winter (or cool down in summer). You’ll never have to hunt for a parking space; the car will drop you at the entrance of your destination, then zoom away.
All the societal constructs designed to defend against lousy driving skills—speed limits, speeding tickets, guardrails, even car insurance—might become unnecessary.
Similarly, who will need driver’s ed or a driver’s license? Twelve-year-olds will get their own rides home from sleepovers. And it won’t matter if you (or your parents) are too old, frail or disabled to drive; millions of homebound Americans will suddenly be liberated.
Drunk driving? No longer a problem; if you’re not doing the driving, drink up! Feeling sleepy on your long drive? Your robo-Uber car can drive through the night as you nap. And teenagers? Text away!