This report from The Economist tells of a first self driving public transport bus in uk (though always with an operator who has to correct the computer)
IMHO these figures reported by the Economist make little sense, if none at all from a public good perspective.
In the UK there are 31 thousand buses with an average life of 9.4 years (source: UK government statistics data)
between now and 2035 there will therefore be a total replacement of the fleet.
it turns out that a self driving bus would cost 1.35 million pounds while the cost of a traditional bus is 300k pounds (BBC)
doing a little reverse engineering on the UK government data, it actually shows that that figure is equal to the cost of buying all the buses in the UK plus paying the salaries of all UK drivers (£528 per week) for 12 years.
(though always with an operator who has to correct the computer)
generally, when I see numbers shot like that, I tend to be skeptic.
has anyone done any math on the transfer of value from local workers to tech companies shareholders (who pay no taxes locally) and consequent impact on the treasury ? is this really worth the while ?
beyond the merits of the real possibility of replacing a driver with a computer (who admonishes vandals ?, who helps the old lady or the blind person ?, what about when a drunk person falls asleep or vomits ?, not to mention cybersecurity issues, etc.) and without even accounting for support staff along the routes (as there should always be anyway, to handle exceptions), I have never seen the overall impact on public accounts.
the cost to the community of the salary is less than the total salary paid, as a chunk goes back to the community in taxes/health insurance (out of 26k salary/year there are 5k/year going back to the community, or 19%)
a large chunk of the value of a hypothetical autonomous vehicle is software license on which they pay virtually zero tax : with these numbers £1.05M is “on top” of the cost of the mechanical vehicle, 111k/year of vehicle life that would be transferred from workers’ income to software license
instead of collecting 515M/year from income taxes (103k drivers), the community would lose 650M/year from tax avoidance on software licenses, a self-inflicted total impact of over 1,1Bn/year (without considering any eventual further subsidies to be paid to drivers in this transfer of value from UK people to US shareholders of tech companies…)
Source: The Economist
Promoters say AVs could make transport cheaper, safer and greener. The government reckons the market could be worth £42bn ($52.4bn) by 2035.
Full article: Aboard Britain’s first commercial self-driving bus