How self-driving cars could shrink parking lots
New research shows that adoption of self-driving cars — also known as autonomous vehicles (AVs) — could significantly reduce the amount of valuable urban space dedicated to parking.
“In a parking lot full of AVs, you don’t need to open the doors, so they can park with very little space in between,” says Professor Matthew Roorda from the University of Toronto.
“You also don’t need to leave space for each car to drive out, because you can signal the surrounding AVs to move out of the way.”
While traditional parking lots are configured for “islands” of cars that can each pull in or out of a spot, an AV parking lot could resemble a solid grid, with outer cars moving aside as needed to let the inner cars enter and exit.
The analysis showed that, for a given number of cars, a well-designed AV parking lot could accommodate 62 per cent more cars than a conventional one.
Depending on parking lot dimensions, in some cases they were able to increase the capacity even further — square-shaped AV parking lots could accommodate up to 87 per cent more cars.
This improved use of space could translate into much smaller parking lot footprints, provided the total number of cars that need to park in them remains constant.
Would you feel confident allowing your car to park itself?