Self-driving cars can save you lots of money, and here’s how

Begun, the self-driving car wars have. And even if that's true, it may be a good thing, since self-driving cars can save people money.

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  • Vox's Editor-In-Chief Ezra Klein put it best in a tweet Monday afternoon.

  • "Begun," he wrote, "the self-driving wars have."

  • The tweet came with a link to a story from Vox about how General Motors recently partnered with Lyft, a peer-to-peer ridesharing service like Uber, to start a self-driving car service of their own. Lyft raised $500 million from GM and another $500 million from investors, including two Chinese companies, in order to compete with Uber, which also recently announced its self-driving car service.

  • Not too long ago, Ford and Google similarly announced they were going to work together to create self-driving cars.

  • These announcements show self-driving cars are becoming a hot topic for motor vehicle manufacturers and mark the beginning of a shift in the way people use transportation, especially since self-driving cars will save people money.

  • The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that self-driving cars would not only save about 42 lives every day (that's how many people die from distracted drivers or drivers under the influence of alcohol), but would also reduce the $576 million daily cost from crashes and the $14 million daily revenue lost from speeding tickets.

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  • The United States would also save $6,575 per day with the lack of traffic signals (assuming they're no longer needed with self-driving cars), since people wouldn't get tickets from speeding past them and they wouldn't need repairs, the report said.

  • Similarly, the Boston Consulting Group found that self-driving cars will save people money since they will increase fuel efficiency and lessen the likelihood of a driver getting a speeding ticket, Forbes reported.

  • Families will also be less inclined to buy a second car, saving them the added expense of another car. As Forbes reported, a study from researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the average car per household would drop from 2.1 to 1.2 with self-driving cars.

  • "The majority of families own multiple cars, but they don't use them at the same time," Forbes reported. "A driverless car with a 'return to home' mode would eliminate much of the need for the second car, since the first car could simply drive itself home to take the next family member where he or she needs to go."

  • Self-driving cars will also likely be rented, saving people from having to buy vehicles, Vox reported. People can leave their homes and immediately enter a self-driving car, like they already do with Uber and Lyft. This is why these companies have invested in the self-driving car idea, Vox reported.

  • But there's still a long way to go, at least technology-wise. For example, neither company in the Lyft-GM partnership has the technology that other organizations, like Google, have to create these sort of cars, which could stifle innovation.

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  • "The odds of this new alliance triumphing seem slim, as it doesn't have either the resources or the artificial intelligence expertise of Google, Tesla, Uber and some of the other companies working in this space," Vox reported.

  • Technology seems to be the big roadblock for these companies trying to make self-driving cars, Vox reported. Google, a near $600 billion industry, has only just begun using prototypes — which has "logged more than a million miles of real-world driving experience," Vox explained — and yet they still aren't available for the everyday American.

  • And Apple, seen as a leader in smart technology, still hasn't come forth with its specific plans.

  • But, as Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, which has already begun testing self-driving cars, said these vehicles and the savings, may not be that far away, Re/Code reported.

  • "We're going to put a lot of effort into autonomous driving because it's going to be the default thing," he said.

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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