Driverless cars may mean fewer cars sold

Driverless cars may mean fewer cars sold

Autonomous vehicles may reduce the number of vehicles a family needs, but may lead to an increase in total miles driven per vehicle, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Researchers examined U.S. National Household Travel Survey data and found that families rarely use more than one vehicle at a time.

The study is based on the premise that one person could drive the car to work in the morning, for example, and then the car would return home on its own. Another household member could use the car to do errands, and the car would return to pick up the first passenger at the end of the day.

In the most extreme scenario, self-driving vehicles could cut average ownership rates of vehicles by 43 percent from an average of 2.1 vehicles to 1.2 vehicles per household. But the shift could result in a 75 percent increase in individual vehicle usage, from 11,661 to 20,406 annual miles per vehicle.

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