Image: Tierney / AdobeStock

Image: Tierney / AdobeStock

Expectations for automated vehicles


Automated vehicles (AVs) could represent the most profound technological change in road transport since the rise of mass production, with reductions in energy demand being one of the many anticipated benefits. Expectations about the effects of AVs on transport systems, including their impacts on energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, are currently soaring. However, there is considerable uncertainty because 1) AV technology is developing rapidly and needs to be embedded in existing mobility systems, 2) automobility is also in flux for factors beyond automation, and 3) AV adoption is in its infancy.

This project will examine expectations regarding the future effects of AVs diffusion on energy demand and GHG emissions for both passenger and freight road transport among both experts and the general public in a way that considers the aforementioned uncertainties.

Given the deep ambiguities about AV technologies and diffusion, a process-oriented methodology rather than a static 'snap-shot' approach (e.g. a single opinion survey) will be employed. A dissensus-oriented Delphi method is proposed because this recognises deep uncertainty and the inevitable value-laden character of expertise/knowledge and expectations about the future.

The method will be deployed twice, first with ±300 experts and then with ±1,200 members of the general public. A three-stage online Delphi approach will enable the identification of key differences and segments among experts and the public regarding a) the expected effects of AVs on energy demand and GHG emissions and b) the pathways through which those effects will be realised.

Further Information

For more information on this research project please contact Prof Tim Schwanen.