Design Con 2015

Nuvation CEO examines the Autonomous Vehicle concept

-April 11, 2014

Mike Worry, Nuvation CEO, put together a brief slideshow regarding his view of why it should be illegal for humans to drive and his solution to that problem. Here is a summary of that presentation that I have put into an EDN slideshow.


Worry ticks off some positive reasons to create autonomous vehicles:

  • 93% of traffic accidents are due to human error
  • 108k deaths per month worldwide
  • 1.2M preventable deaths per year
  • Vehicles are the leading cause of death for Americans aged 4 to 34
  • 2.3M US drivers and passengers treated in US emeregency rooms in 2009
  • Traffic crashes cost Americans $299.5B annually


  • By comparison:
  • 2996 people died in 9/11 (less than die every day by traffic accidents)
  • It is estimated that seat belts have saved 255k lives in US since 1975
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as of Jan. 1, 2009, more than 28,000 people were alive because of frontal airbags, which became common in the 1990s and have been required in new passenger vehicles since the 1999 model year.


Even more reasons to develop the autonomous vehicle:

  • Increase capacity of existing roads
  • Even in heavy traffic – only 8-12% of road surface is cars
  • Self driving cars could increase road density by 5x
  • Four lane highway costs $8-$12M per mile
  • Cars would park themselves – or simply drive away and return when requested
  • In congested urban areas, 40% of gas is expended looking for parking
  • Some US cities, more than one third of land area is parking lot
  • By that capacity increase, traffic goes away
  • Parking problems go away
 

In addition

  • Improvement in productivity and lifestyle
  • Average American commuter spends 250 hours a year commuting
  • Average car sits unused for 22 hours of the day
  • Move to models of fractional ownership of cars – or zipcars by the hour
  • Cost of a cab fare with convenience of personal ownership
  • Savings in fuel efficiency
  • Provide mobility to handicapped
  • Provide mobility to an aging population
  • Open up new ownership models
  • DUIs and drunk driving disappear

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