Self-Driving Cars on the Rise: the Solution to SLS’s Parking Problem?

Jason Schwartz ’17, Staff Writer

A new mode of transportation is here and it will bring a revolutionary change to the way we travel: self driving cars.  Technology companies, like Google, have invested in self-driving cars and transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft are putting the self-driving cars on the road.  The life of the commuter will soon become easier.  Self-driving cars will undoubtedly solve many of the world’s problems, even the notorious and on-going parking problem at St. Luke’s.  During this year alone, there have been limitless complaints regarding the lack of parking space here on the hilltop.  Any remedy to combat this problem would be a step in the right direction.  But we are inclined to ask: can the SLS parking problem be completely resolved as self-driving cars begin to fill the roads?

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An example Uber Car

To understand the complexity of this issue, it is necessary to understand how self-driving cars would be implemented. Self-driving cars operate on a system called ride sharing, the same system used today by Uber or Lyft.  Like Uber or Lyft, self-driving cars will carry passengers who have requested their service via an app to their desired destination, the only modification is that no human driver is necessary.  From there, the car will drive itself to the next passenger who has requested its service via an app operated by the car’s assigned company.  Ridesharing is an innovative, efficient way of transportation, whether a car is operated by a human or not.  Some suggest that self-driving cars could be more efficient. These cars could fit more passengers and would be cheaper as it would not be necessary to pay for a driver. Clearly, the ridesharing idea combined with self-driving cars will make a commute more expedient and cheaper.

Self-driving cars will dominate the American automobile market in the next ten years–and here’s why: car usage is very inefficient in our current system.  In fact, approximately 240 million out of 250 million cars in the United States are parked at any given time. Although many can’t imagine not owning a car, this new technology will soon change that.

These problems are evident in our community.  On our campus, cars are blocking other cars from backing out of a parking spot. The situation is at its worst in the morning hours and trying to grab a spot after 7:45 AM is nearly impossible.  Additionally, many faculty, staff and other visitors are parking in the senior lot.  By using self-driving cars, the members of the St. Luke’s community will commute more efficiently to and from the hilltop.  Self-driving cars will also decrease the number of cars on campus dramatically.  They will eliminate the need for parking spots, which take up so much of the valuable space on our campus.  With that new space, St. Luke’s will be able to add many new amenities on its campus.  Since Uber and Lyft have a strong presence in Fairfield county, their self-driving car services will probably be available sooner rather than later.  

So, can the SLS parking problem be completely resolved?  Yes, the solution is self-driving cars.  Ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, will utilize self-driving cars, which will carry members of the St. Luke’s community to and from school.  Self-driving cars will eliminate the need for parking spots, thereby creating more space on the hilltop; think about the countless opportunities our campus can capitalize on because of this newly available space.  As a result of self-driving cars, complaints regarding parking space here at St. Luke’s will wither away and will soon be a distant memory.

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