The problem with autonomous cabs? People are disgusting – Autoweek

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We’ve all been there — it’s three in the morning and you’ve gone out of your way to pick up a buddy across town that’s had too much fun on a Saturday night. On the way back to your friend’s house, all the fun your friend had that night erupts over your back seat –- leaving you with a mess to clean up on Sunday. Luckily, there was at least one person in the car with a vested interest in it not reeking of puke for the rest of the night, but that probably won’t be the case with autonomous taxi cabs.

As Automotive News points out, people are disgusting, and that’s not good for robotaxis. Companies like Waymo and Apple are reportedly turning to major rental fleet companies like Hertz and Avis to help curb the impending interior destruction of their autonomous people haulers, but that still doesn’t solve the underlying issue — cost. 

Lexus RX450h Apple autonomous car

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed this week that the company was still working on autonomous driving technology months after the tech giant scaled back its plans of offering its own Apple-branded electric …

According to the article, with maintenance, depreciation and cleaning, fleet operators will probably see $400 to $600 going away each month for every car. Add up a fleet of a few hundred or thousand vehicles and the costs quickly skyrocket.

Solutions mentioned in the article? Refuse anyone with food and stop moving people after the peak bar hours. Those solutions might help maintain the cars’ hygiene, but they’d cut heavily into peak taxi times. It’s tough to tell how these companies will turn the robotaxi into a money-printing operation, but it’s safe to say they’ll figure it out eventually — even though people will still sometimes throw up.

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