Driverless cars are no longer science fiction fixtures- the possibility of having a driverless car is close on the horizon. Google has been developing one for several years now, and BMW, Volvo and Bosch have all tested versions of autonomous technology. While it may be years before they replace the traditional driver-steering wheel, driverless cars are fast approaching consumer use.
The new technology has incited a lively debate about the effect driverless cars will have on the roads. Will it improve traffic? Allow elderly and disabled people previously unable to drive the opportunity to get behind the wheel?
Then there is the flipside of the debate- the financial effects of driverless cars. The Bits Blog in the New York Times raise another interesting issue driverless cars could affect- state and city revenue. In the future, cars will be able to park themselves and even automatically refill parking meters electronically. While this is great for the individual driver, it could alter some traditional sources of revenue that cities and states rely on.
Washington for example issues an average of six parking tickets every minute in a normal workday. That amounts to approximately 5,300 tickets a day, adding up to $80 million in parking fines a year. Eliminating this would remove a significant chunk of revenue. Towing cars and gasoline taxes could also drive up. States would have to rethink sources of revenue.
It’s another, less visible side to the driverless car debate. What will be changed by the driverless car? Is this something you would drive? We’d love to hear from you.
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