The difference is that it becomes virtually impossible to make a public transportation system that is as convenient and flexible as private transportation. Unless you live in a strictly downtown urban center, e.g. Manhattan, public transportation may be infrequent enough and far enough from your front door as to be useless in most cases.
We live in a what might be described as "close-in suburbs." And even then, unless you work typical office hours Mon-Fri, you're out of luck for public transportation. It would be unaffordable to run practically empty buses, day and night, through every neighborhood. I end up having to drive the car for about three miles, to get to the more useful public transportation access. Otherwise, public transportation for me would be more like an office van pool.
So, this driverless EV taxi type of vehicle would solve a lot of problems, assuming it's even remotely sensible to allow fully autonomous vehicles to navigate public streets full of haphazard, unpredictable, often barely competent human drivers!
Good point Bert but I would just argue that we have to densify cities more to make public transport vialable..."assuming it's even remotely sensible to allow fully autonomous vehicles to navigate public streets full of haphazard, unpredictable, often barely competent human drivers!" - summs up any reasonable assestment of this far fetched technology
One thing worth noting is that in major US cities like NYC, even with high urban density and extensive public transit, many denizens make use of taxis anyway. So there appears to be a market for something like MBtech's here in the states.
One could make an argument for these types of vehicles to comglomerate riders at high-throughput transit nodes. And there would be fair interest in these for ride-sharing cooperatives, whether publicly or privately financed.
True, NYC is famous for taxis...but most European and Asian cities go in the opposite directions...try using the taxi in Singapoure or Stockholm and you will be broke soon...some Greman cities will be car free within 20 years...Kris
Another idea: EV driveless bus (or van)...you enter your address and destination on your smartphone and the system figures out who to pick up when and where to drive...this should be much more efficient than a car
Clearly this car is a distant future generation of car if it does not have the ability for the human to takeover (and comes when called with no human in the vehicle)... I recall when driverless monorails were first installed in airports and they seemed radical - but they drove on dedicated tracks with no other traffic which is a much easier problem. Besides dodging crazy human drivers and pedestrians, I can't help but wonder how these new vehicles will work out in the country. When the car gets to a rural location with a half inch of snow covering the ground, how do I tell the car where the (obscured by snow) driveway is to my country cabin?