Could automated vehicles reduce transport energy?

Patrick Moriarty, Stephen Jia Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Transport energy use and carbon emissions continue to rise, but both need to be drastically reduced. Conventional proposed solutions, all already used to some extent, include a shift to low carbon transport fuels, major improvements in vehicular fuel efficiency, and modal shift. However, their impact has been marginal. This paper instead examines the extent to which fully automated vehicles could contribute to the environmental sustainability of global passenger transport. Fully automated vehicles were found to lead to either an increase or, at best, a slight decrease in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and so will be of marginal use at best for reducing emissions in a business-as-usual world. Reasons for this conclusion are first, their potentially lower time and money costs would tend to increase vehicular travel, offsetting any energy efficiency gains, and second, that they face serious problems that could delay or even prevent their widespread introduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2109-2113
Number of pages5
JournalEnergy Procedia
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event9th International Conference on Applied Energy, ICAE 2017 - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Aug 201724 Aug 2017


  • automated vehicles
  • global climate change
  • sustainable transport
  • transport energy reductions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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