Privacy is the key
It is very strange that all autonomous vans for shared rides that are presented until now, including GM Cruise Origin seen here, does not address the concern about safety that Boston Consulting Group presented at World Economic Forum already in 2015:
“It is not safe for a lady to share with strangers”, “Me, as a woman, I would never want to share a ride with three drunk guys at night” and “… only 35% of parents would let their children ride alone in one”. (see below)
And BCG also, in 2015, wrote in the article ROBO-TAXIS AND THE NEW MOBILITY: “Soon after you get in the car, it picks up another passenger going in the same direction, who sits in a separate, private compartment.”
The key question is if most people will abandon their private car and share trips with strangers in a small vehicle without driver, essential for a fast transformation to sustainable mobility and less traffic congestions. Kenneth Palmestål in Sweden saw this problem and applied for patent in 2014 (granted 2018) on a vehicle with separate (and exchangeable for parcel delivery) cabins for each passenger. The solution makes it safe and comfortable for all types of passengers, from school children to elders. Fresh air to all cabins also reduces the risk for infections between passengers, no need to shut down public transportation as they do in Wuhan in China, January 2020, due to the corona virus.
CabiBUS, the obvious solution
It is all about behaviour.
Private car drivers choose their own car for the daily trips even if most of them have other transportation alternatives, often at a lower cost.
The future of sustainable mobility is Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared.
But sharing rides with strangers, in a small vehicle without a driver, every day may not be attractive enough compared with the private car to change the beaviour. And then we still will have a heavy traffic with people commuting in their fossil fuel cars for many years ahead.