Give or take a year or two, 2022 should be the year that autonomous vehicle (AV) taxis become sufficiently functional that they will be superior to our present taxis, says civil engineer (retired) Eric Jensen.
This should lead to a rapid growth of taxi numbers so that, by about 2030, worldwide AV taxi numbers will exceed 100 million. Taxi platforms will be a part of this taxi growth.
A taxi platform is essential for AV taxis. The platform connects taxi users and taxis. It provides taxis their customers and taxi users transport to their destinations.
Generally, taxi users use a smartphone taxi app to access a taxi platform so as to order taxis. Taxi users would like taxi platforms to provide them with good service that is value for money. Most taxi platforms make a good effort to do this, although, generally, taxi platforms function to best suit platform owners, which, in most instances, are taxi companies. In the future, taxi platforms will change to suit AV taxis. This change should be optimised to benefit taxi users.
Within a few years, AVs should become common. So too, should electric vehicles (EVs). However, it is the combination of these two developments that should make autonomous electric vehicles (AEVs) common and, later, the most numerous of all vehicles.
EVs are starting to be sold in small numbers around the world. This is welcomed because EVs, compared with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, are environmentally friendly. EVs do not produce CO2 and NOx emissions. There is an expectation that this environmental advantage will eventually lead to EVs displacing ICE vehicles. To advance this environmental advantage faster, a spur is needed. AEV taxis can be that spur.
AV taxis, and, more specifically, AEV taxis, should be more popular than taxis are now. In large part, this will be because AEV taxis should have lower fare costs than taxis now. The four main reasons for this will be:
- Taxi driver cost will disappear.
- EV lifespan is typically much longer than ICE vehicle lifespan.
- AEV taxis will make ridesharing more popular.
- EV electricity cost is much lower than ICE vehicle fuel cost.
An AV-taxi business has to have a taxi platform that will run the taxi business. Any platform that can do this well will be both sophisticated and complex. This may limit the development and use of AV-taxi platforms to just a few large multi-national taxi businesses.
These taxi platforms may not serve taxi users as well as they should. To overcome this problem, there could be a platform between the taxi business platform and the taxi users. This in-between platform would interrogate taxi business platforms to provide each taxi user with the most suitable available AV-taxi travel.
The platforms would be subject to legislation. The intent of the legislation should include for the reasonable interests of stakeholders, such as the public, taxi owners, platform owners, government departments and agencies and transit owners.
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