This is some interesting food for thoughts about driverless cars, currently being developed and tested by Google:
Google has been working on driverless cars for a few years now. The obvious selling point is that the cars will be much safer without a human behind the wheel.
Currently, a car spends 96% of its time idle. Compare that with planes which spend almost their entire lifetime in operation/airborne. Idle planes aren’t making money, and they need to recoup their hefty $120M price tag. There is an unforgiving economic incentive to make sure it is always in use.
The proliferation of driverless cars will have a similar effect. Cars will spend less time idle: why would a household buy 2 (or even 3) cars, when they only need 1? Ride to work, then send the car home to your spouse. Need to go grocery shopping, but your kid also needs a ride to a soccer game? No problem, a driverless car can handle that.
What will begin as households cutting back to a single car, will expand. Why would a family need an entire car to themselves? That’s crazy! It may start as extended family in the same area sharing cars, then neighbors sharing cars, and then entire apartment/condo complexes in cities offering driverless cars bundled into their HOA/rent.
The operating percent of a car will go from 4% to that 96%. But back to my leading statement: there are unintended consequences. Parked cars will be a relic from the past. What happens to car insurance prices if a driver is no longer part of the equation? And if cars are receiving 20 times more actual use, that would imply that there would be 20 times less cars sold. This is the kind of disruptive change that can reshape the automotive industry. The recent GM/Chrysler bailout may have been for naught.
 Of course, this isn’t exactly the case, as the cars would need to be replaced more often due to nonstop usage, but the point stands.
 Hell, I’d share a car with my condo complex. I currently don’t own a car, I walk or take taxis basically everywhere.
 Of course, car companies realize this. And I can guarantee you, they will lobby against driverless cars.
The brief post is written by Koushik Dutta. For some reason, I hadn’t even considered that driverless cars would operate without someone in them, but as Dutta explains, it would make sense for families to own fewer cars.