Why Principle 10?
Principle 10 encourages AVs in dense urban areas be operated primarily in shared fleets. This is for a number of reasons, but none of them are to encourage a monopoly of service for any company or government.
One of the reasons for Principle 8 (we aim for public benefits via open data) is its incompatiblity with a monopoly. And we are agnostic about the possibility of renting out your own car as part of a shared fleet. There are shared fleets today that are made up of rented, individually owned vehicles (both Turo.com and Getaround.com).
But a world in which every individual in dense urban areas owns their own AV would distort land use and other behaviors and dynamics in ways that would be severely detrimental to cities.
For safety reasons, in the early days of autonomous fleets, it is also preferable to have professionals keep the fleet up-to-date with the latest software upgrades and ensure sensors are in good working order – elements that could mean the difference between life and death of the driver or others – rather than rely on individuals to do so.
Other principles support the logic behind Principle 10:
3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, curbs, and lanes
When an individual owns an AV, the decision to make a particular trip is dictated by the marginal cost of that trip (refueling charge, at a minimum). When a vehicle is shared, the decision to make a trip now includes the full costs (depreciation, insurance, maintenance, as well as refueling) and therefore sets a higher cost hurdle rate to make a trip. In dense metro areas with scarce road resources, we want to discourage low-value car trips and therefore more efficient use of space.
5. We promote equity
Initially, AVs will be very expensive. When AVs are in a shared fleet, the benefits can be purchased at low cost – by the seat for a specific trip – rather than having to purchase an entire vehicle.
Leading to the natural case for:
10. WE SUPPORT THAT AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES (AVS) IN DENSE URBAN AREAS SHOULD BE OPERATED ONLY IN SHARED FLEETS.
Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.