The ability to send or summon vehicles anywhere could transform urban and suburban landscapes
Should driver-less cars become a commonplace way of getting from here to there - Google is already sending them out on public roads - Koushik Dutta posits that instead of vehicles that sit idle most of the time, as is now the case, our collective fleet will be more like commercial airliners, which are almost always in use.
The result: fewer total cars.
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?
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.
All this presumes significant technological improvements and accompanying cultural changes. Still, it sounds plausible. And it got me thinking about how dramatically urban and suburban landscapes would be transformed if, suddenly, there wasn't any need for most parking spaces. The local 7-Eleven might retain its current number of spots. But hotels, boutiques, and other hot spots?