No, cars won't circle around in traffic to avoid paying for parking
For many years, people have wondered if people might tell their robocars to just drive continuously around the block rather than pay for parking. I've written before about how that doesn't make sense, but a recent paper from Adam Millard-Ball of UC Santa Cruz tries to make a real case that it could make economic sense, even if it's antisocial.
I think the paper makes 4 errors, any of which are enough to eliminate the problem.
- He believes a car could drive super slowly (less than 2mph net speed.) That's illegal and challenging
- He believes a car going that slowly would incur costs less than 50 cents per hour of operation. It's probably quite a bit more.
- He does not account for how the cost of parking a robocar will be much less than parking a regular car -- possibly even less than the 50 cents/hour he estimates
- He does not account for how it's much easier to make things illegal in a robocar, because you enforce on a dozen companies, not on a million drivers.
I've written up a more detailed analysis of the issues here and published it in a new Forbes.com article. Read