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The autonomous car — a blessing or a curse for the future of low carbon mobility? An exploration of likely vs. desirable outcomes

Thomopoulos, Nikolas and Givoni, Moshe (2015) The autonomous car — a blessing or a curse for the future of low carbon mobility? An exploration of likely vs. desirable outcomes European Journal of Futures Research, 3 (1).

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Certain developed countries have experienced the ‘peak car’ phenomenon. While this remains to be confirmed longitudinally, it looks certain that future mobility in Europe and elsewhere will be shaped by a particular technological development: driverless or autonomous transport. The ‘autonomous car’ ignites the imagination, yet the research and debate on this topic largely focus on the ‘autonomous’ and not adequately on the ‘car’ element. Like any new technological development, autonomous transport presents ample opportunities to better our mobility system, but similarly it carries risks and can lead into a future mobility that exacerbates, rather than relieves, current deficiencies of our mobility systems, including its high carbon and high cost characteristics. Now it is high time to explore these, before we lock ourselves into the autonomous car future. Using Low Carbon Mobility (LCM) as a guiding framework to assess mobility patterns and based on an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore where there is a gap between the likely and desirable outcomes when developing the autonomous car and suggest how we might reduce it. Moreover, enhancing on global empirical evidence and forecasts about the opportunities and threats emerging from ICT deployment in transport and initial evidence on the development of the autonomous car, the paper concludes that a desirable outcome will only come if technological development will be accompanied by a social change. A change where public and sharing will be seen as superior to private and individual transport, could make the autonomous car a blessing.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Authors :
Givoni, Moshe
Date : 21 November 2015
DOI : 10.1007/s40309-015-0071-z
Copyright Disclaimer : Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Autonomous car; Peak car; ICT for transport; De-privatized car; Low Carbon; Mobility; Shared mobility
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 05 Nov 2019 09:04
Last Modified : 05 Nov 2019 09:04

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