5 Reasons Why Driving is Outdated  

As humans, we always strive for more. Getting faster, farther, for longer is our passion. Innovation is at the core of our being, leading us to fundamentally transform our surroundings in the last 100 years to the modern world as we know it today. But with all this change happening so fast, we also face a new big problem, which is in need for a clever solution: Climate Change. We are polluting our environment like there is no tomorrow, hurting our quality of life in the long run. Autonomous cars do very well have the potential to revolutionize our transportation industry. Technology has been improving our lives for a long time now, so why not continue improvement with the future of self-driving cars?

Driving is killing your time: Use your time wisely on your way home

A personal pet peeve of mine is to be stuck in traffic. There’s nothing worse than sitting in your car, looking at your iPhone every single minute. If you were the average American, you’d even be able to count to 17,600 minutes per year sitting in traffic alone. That’s an entire 12 days.  We could all use some more quality time with friends and family, or squeeze in just a little bit of extra time to finish up some more work. This is where the autonomous car is a very viable solution to our traffic problem. Congestion affects our everyday lives commuting to and back from work and is usually caused by human error. Car-to-car communication is supposed to reduce congestion substantially, as drivers will be able to plan trips more efficiently. Mercedes-Benz developed their new Mercedes-Benz F 015 prototype focusing on questions, such as what we will be able to do with our newly gained free time, as well as how to improve the passengers experience of sitting in traffic. Equipped with four rotatable seats, you will be able to enjoy long road trips together, without the risk of distracting the driver. When it comes to traffic, you’ll be easily able to whip out your laptop and experience a comfort that driving clearly lacks nowadays.

Driving is too fast: Leave your performance car on the race track

The German Autobahn attracts many tourists every year as it is the only motorway in the world without a speed limit. As much as it is our national pride to be speeding down our motorways, it is dangerous – and you hardly get to do it. The European Safety Council (ETSC) had a closer look at 645 road deaths and has found that, 67% of all accidents on the Autobahn occurred on the sections without a speed limit. Speeding is an issue that many governments around the world are tackling, in which autonomous cars could contribute to less serious accidents. Many experts have stated that a large proportion of car accidents could be avoided by using self-driving cars as there will be fewer accidents that can be traced back due to speeding. And actually, driving constantly with a limit of 120 or 130 (I am talking kilometers per hour) like in Italy, Spain or Austria make driving more relaxing, too.

Parking is too cheap: Let’s find a new use for space in our cities

Companies often offer free parking spots to their employees, resulting in cars being left inside the whole day without a worry, but also without a use. Now get this, our cars are actually parked 95% of the time. This statistic includes the car enthusiasts as well as our elderly who only take the car out once a week to go grocery shopping. Against common belief, we do not use our cars as often as we might think and this results in them being parked a majority of the time. As additionally to company parking spaces, the rest of us are also provided with quite a few parking spaces ourselves, granted a bit more expensive than a free car park, but often comparable to the cost of public transportation. Considering that Donald Shoup, professor at UCLA’s urban planning department, declared parking spaces to be “the most valuable land on the planet” we have to re-examine how efficiently we are using our parking spaces at present. One measure that has been taken by the city of Toronto in order to reduce congestion and free up parking spaces was to introduce the highest parking fees in the country. Autonomous vehicles could dramatically change the way we use cars if they are shared. Experts in Ireland have predicted that if self-driving electric cars were to be shared, they wouldn’t only be able to reduce air pollution close to zero, but also make parking spaces within the city obsolete within the next 10 years. As self-driving cars are more likely to be rented than owned, they will be able to just drive to their next customer, instead of being left in a parking garage.

Driving is too dirty: Breathe freely thanks to autonomous cars

Imagine you’re riding your bike to work in the city on a Monday morning. First of all, traffic will most likely start to annoy you within minutes and on top of that you’ll have to breathe in the exhaust gas of the car in front of you. Both uncomfortable realities of your everyday life that could be hugely impacted by self-driving electric cars as early as 2025. Air pollution is one of the major health hazards in our big cities and cars contribute greatly to the problem. Several measures, such as partly banning cars from cities, further CO2 commissions and stronger regulations for car manufacturers, have already been implemented to reduce pollution. Self-driving electric cars are a huge step forward in the battle to reduce emission and eliminating a health hazard from our cities. Just taking a quick look towards Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world, explains why China is showing great interest in electric and autonomous vehicles. Evidently, cars alone did not create such extreme levels of pollution as we are currently able to observe in Beijing, but they do contribute largely to the production of Nitrogen Oxide, as car engines engage in incomplete combustion. Simply put, where there are lots of cars, there will be a high production of Nitrogen Oxide. So far, this has led to many people prematurely dying of Nitrogen Oxide related diseases. Self -driving electric cars will be able to greatly reduce this toxin from our inner-city circles, having a huge impact on our overall quality of life.

Driving is too inefficient: Get your online purchase faster

Logistics, trucking and freight were one of the first industries to recognize the potential of autonomous vehicles for themselves. As our world is becoming more and more connected, enabling a diverse global market, we are in great need of an impeccable logistics network that will be able to work day and night. Companies and customers alike will be profiting from increased efficiency, as the company is able to deliver its products faster and the waiting time for the customer is therefore automatically reduced. Just to name a few, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, as well as Uber are currently developing self-driving trucks. As the trucking industry moves about USD 700 billion of cargo in the U.S. alone every year, it is a huge industry to be influenced by automatization. With Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 being planned to hit the road in less than ten years, we are very likely to experience the resulting changes of automatization around us rather quickly. Roads can be freed from trucks during the daytime, as machines don’t have to operate during our normal waking hours. In Germany, we already have established a ban for trucks to use our roads on Sundays in order to free up space. Overall, automatization is very likely to be able to advance the logistics industry as we know it and that rather quickly!


Timo Pfeiffer
Head of Research & Business Development