Jan 11, 2017
Iconic cars can reincarnate... Or they can inspire to reinvent the car. Automakers see self-driving technology primarily as a way to prolong shelf life of the cars as we know them today. Robotics should actually challenge us to rethink 'auto-mobility' altogether.
An unmistakable trend towards less passengers per vehicle
Statistics regarding passenger vehicle occupancy are remarkably similar between the U.S. and the EU. The rate of car occupancy continues to decline, but at a slower rate than during the 1980's and 1990's. The data are limited to a few EU countries, but the trend is likely to be representative of the whole EU. The most recent data for the average number of passengers per car (driver incl.) for the countries sampled is approximately 1.45 passenger per vehicle (1.58 in the UK, 1.42 in Germany and 1.38 in the Netherlands). In 1977, the United States' average vehicle occupancy was 1.87 persons per vehicle. By 2013, average vehicle occupancy had decreased to 1.5 persons per vehicle. Possible reasons for this include the growing individualization of society, shrinking household sizes and the increase in car ownership. So, why would you want a big, cumbersome car that will get you stuck in traffic, if the average ride consists of one-and-a-half person? Particularly if there is so much to gain... "Dress to impress" I can understand. But "impress by being late" I don't. Below you can see how all relevant aspects literally interlock, and how lightweight and footprint form the key. Works like a checklist.
Ralph Panhuyzen, firstname.lastname@example.org
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