How Autonomous Vehicles Are Driving the Adoption of Mobility as a Service (Maas)
Mobility as a service (MaaS), a growing trend in the field of transportation, aims to make owning a vehicle unnecessary. In this model—users request rides as needed. MaaS service providers will then construct an optimal route from point A to point B using a variety of transportation methods, both public and private. Hence the term “mobility as a service.”
While MaaS isn’t fully available quite yet, new technologies are driving its adoption every day. One such technology—and the focus of this article—is autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous Vehicle Technology
Autonomous vehicle technology is seemingly ubiquitous in today’s world with a large number of organizations, such as Waymo and Uber, investing heavily. Autonomous vehicles use a mixture of radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and other sensory technology to sense their environment. This sensory technology, similar to that used for accident prevention on many of our current personal vehicles, paired with advanced programs, enables vehicles to operate independently of any driver or operator.
Experts believe—and the data suggests—autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt the transportation industry and render in a new era of mobility. Autonomous vehicles enable this change by reducing burdens on riders, decreasing transportation costs, and increasing safety.
Autonomous Vehicles Reduce Burdens on Riders
Early morning commuters rejoice; with driverless cars, you can get an extra half-an-hour nap in the car. Additionally, for all those inter-city frequenters, parking will no longer be your concern.
Autonomous cars—in a MaaS model—reduce the need for private vehicle ownership and the burdens that come along with it. Riders will no longer be responsible for driving, parking, car maintenance, or even fueling. With mobility as a service, riders save time and money.
Autonomous Vehicles Drive Down Costs
Expect mobility as a service systems to have two payment models: a subscription service and a pay as you go method. For a MaaS model to be feasible, the cost of the subscription service would need to be below the cost of owning a vehicle. Many MaaS proponents believe self-driving cars are the key in this area. While ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, offer much of the service proposed by MaaS, they are still much too expensive for every-day use. These companies aim to reduce their overall costs by eliminating the need for a driver, ergo their large investments into autonomous vehicles.
Any type of mobility requires a significant degree of safety. Currently, motorcycles and automobiles are the two most dangerous methods of transportation with around 40,000 deaths in the US last year. Human error is the major contributing factor in 94% of these crashes. Proponents of autonomous vehicles claim this new technology could eventually reduce auto fatalities to zero. While these claims can’t be substantiated with the current level of data, advocates’ faith remains strong. If correct, autonomous vehicles will usher in a safer age of transportation and propel the adoption of MaaS.
Don’t expect the attention on self-driving technology to dwindle any time soon. Experts across the transportation industry share high hopes for the technology and the ancillary products/services it enables. If you are interested in staying up-to-date on the latest news and resources within the transportation industry, subscribe to our blog below.
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