Monday, August 30, 2010

In 2028, the car you won't drive won't be yours

In Volkswagen's vision for the future of automobiles, not only cars drive themselves, but are not owned by their drivers; rather, they belong to a fleet from which they can be summoned anytime one is needed.

Could this be the solution to the current conundrum of urban transport? A large fleet of one- or two-seat electric cars for everyday usage, complemented by a restricted number of five-seat SUV's for longer-distance (or larger-packed) travels, could well be enough to meet the transportation needs of a whole city, much more economically than today's private-ownership model could ever accomplish – and without giving up user comfort, the main objection to nowadays public transport systems.

However, apart from technological requirements, it does remain open to question how the current – and indeed quite large – fleet of privately-owned, manual-piloted automobiles would be phased out, and whether the public would even approve of this new model, let alone agree to pay for whatever it would take to implement it.

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