The Observer: "How driverless cars could change our whole future"

"Vast areas of land are covered in parked cars. When self-driving vehicles become commonplace, we might devote that dead space to something useful instead"

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"John Zimmer thinks that fleets of self-driving cars will be commonplace in the relatively near future and that their availability will give us most of the advantages of private car ownership without the financial and environmental drawbacks. Although some people will always want the status and other satisfactions of owning a car, what most people want is affordable mobility without having to purchase, tax, insure, park and fuel a four-wheeled millstone.

"In the well-planned cities of continental Europe, that kind of mobility is provided by efficient and affordable public transport. But in more benighted places (like most British towns and cities), autonomous vehicles are an obvious alternative.

"... Mr Zimmer has a dog in this fight – he's co-founder of Lyft, a ride-sharing outfit that competes with Uber, so the usual caveats apply. Nevertheless, his essay is a thoughtful reflection on how the automobile transformed – and destroyed – our cities and towns."

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