Autonomous Cars for Retirees
Voyage launched its autonomous taxis in a small retirement community in San Jose back in October 2017. However, The Villages – one of the fastest-growing US cities (US Census Bureau, 2017) with 125,000 residents and more than 750 miles of road – requires a higher level of driverless technology.
According to Voyage, The Villages is "the largest deployment (by area size) of self-driving cars in the world". It was made possible after the company raised $20m in its Series A fundraising round last year. Voyage has agreed to give property owners in the community equity stakes of 0.3%.
The taxi service employs human safety drivers to remain behind the wheel in case of emergencies. This is an important move, considering the first customers of its robo-taxis are over-55s – a generation that reportedly mistrusts self-driving cars. In the US, only 12% of boomers (aged 55-64) feel comfortable in completely autonomous vehicles, while 63% prefer assistance technologies that help the driver, but allow them to remain in control (MIT, 2017).
For more on the transformation of personal and public modes of transport, see our Radical Transport report.