A few weeks ago, we attended a conference looking at the Future of Transportation. This was a small gathering of technologists from auto companies and regional transportation planners. The focus of much of the discussion was on cars, consumer behavior and the desire to find solutions to automobile traffic.
By now, these concepts should be pretty familiar to most readers. We once calculated that the US economy would save $600 billion a year in labor productivity lost to long commutes. But after a week in Beijing, I think it is important to expand the scope of analysis beyond the level of cars and look at what other benefits autonomous driving will bring.