Americans spend 5.5 billion hours stuck in traffic every year. One or two hours of commuting to work or just on day trips, are a huge waste of time and money. Extra fuel consumption because of traffic is around $121 billion because of this as well, which is an immense waste of resources. When I take a trip with a coworker or a friend, I always ask for them to drive so that I can open my laptop and actually get some work done, or even just use my phone. I’d rather be productive instead of spending time just staring at the road or dealing with traffic.
This is why autonomous cars need to be ubiquitous as soon as possible. Imagine leaving your house in the morning to go to work, and being able to sit in your car while it drives you to work. Then you can actually get started on your workday, and it will count toward your 8 or 9 hours at work.
Let’s say you have a two hour commute, one hour each way, and you leave your house at 7 AM to get to work at 8 AM. Then when your work day is over you leave work at 5 PM to get home by 6 PM. Well if your hours counted while driving, then you’d get to work at 8 AM, and only have seven hours left in your work day, so you would leave at 3 PM. Then on your drive home till 4 PM, you would work one more hour. The time you will be saving, will give you that extra hour to go to the doctor, the extra hour to go to the gym, the extra hour to drop your kids off to the mall, or the extra hour to go home and decompress before dinner time.
If you live in Philadelphia like I do, now you could actually take that awesome job in New York, and not care too much about the two hour commute each way, because that would be half of your workday, and you would only spend four hours in the office each day. That would be an enticing situation, because you wouldn’t be as stressed out being stuck in an office for eight or nine hours a day. Now half of your day would be spent in the car getting your work done in the privacy of your own “mobile cubicle”, with fresh air, music, and less distractions from coworkers or noisy environments.
Accidents would be much lower, if not completely obsolete, because computers will be in control of the roads, not people. As we all know accidents are caused by human error most of the time. You could even be a little drunk after happy hour and not worry about driving home, because you’re AI will take care of you. Think of it like an airplane, you can watch a movie while you are driving down to the beach, or spend some time on Skype having a video conference with a family member from overseas, or you can learn something new online while your car does the driving for you.
I can’t imagine how much time we will save once our cars are our chauffeurs as well, but I’m looking forward to the day when this happens so that I can be more productive while driving to my next destination.