Autonomous Vehicles: Driving, Stopping, Parking?

The concept of self-driving vehicles isn’t new, since it’s been talked about for the last few years. Testing has been done and some companies have even begun making them available to people. Despite still being tested out, it’s only a matter of time before driverless vehicles become the new normal way of getting around. When this happens, we need to be thinking about not just how we’re getting from one place to another, but what the vehicles are going to be doing in the meantime.

When people think about driverless vehicles, they think only about the ride itself, not where the vehicle will stop or park. This can be an issue in the future, as parking spaces are a finite resource and there’s only so much space within a densely populated area. We can always come up with technology that will allow for the vehicles to stop in designated drop-off zones before driving off, as well as possibly building cameras and sensors into the vehicle so that it can ‘read’ parking signs, thereby knowing when and for how long they are allowed to stop in a spot for.

There’s also the fact that since they are driverless, if they’re in-built with the artificial intelligence, they can easily evade fines by simply continuing to circle blocks and driving around until the next person waves them down or books a ride. This addresses the issue of them being able to avoid parking fines and limits, but what about fuel?

Sure, you can programme it to refuel itself once it reaches a certain level, but what about the long-term? Even smart vehicles aren’t impervious to traffic jams, and this is what it would ultimately cause if the vehicles were programmed to drive around until called upon again. It would be easier if the vehicle could be programmed to wait for a rider in a designated parking space, rather than wasting fuel by driving around aimlessly until the rider needs to be picked up again.

Residential parking could be one of the answers to this issue, as most on-street parking isn’t restricted and most of the residents will be out for the day on errands or at work. It would be the perfect solution for driverless vehicles to utilise these spaces with little to no trouble for all parties involved. However, this comes with its own set of problems, as some residents might not like the idea of a strange vehicle parking just outside their houses.

Renting a parking space for driverless vehicles might be the way to go. If a rider were to rent a parking space for the day or month, the vehicle could be programmed to drive and park in the space until it’s needed again. Marketplaces like Spacer and Parkhound take care of this, utilising parking garages, driveways and spaces from residences all over Australia. It’s a simple process, so that once you’ve booked your parking space, the vehicle can just stay there for however long you require the space for.

These vehicles are the future, so it only makes sense that we take precautions and ensure that we are efficient when it comes to how these driverless vehicles will run on the roads and how they will be programmed in terms of parking, dropping people off at their destinations and circling blocks in search of parking.