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Self-driving cars: In the future, you'll never have to park again

The Google self-driving car maneuvers through the streets of in Washington, DC May 14, 2012.

In Congress today, the House Transportation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on autonomous vehicles (better known to the rest of us as self-driving cars).

Meanwhile, the town of Milton Keynes in England is already planning to have a whole fleet by 2015.

"Smaller than a regular car, seats one or two people, you know, looks a bit futuristic," is how futurist Brad Templeton describes the Milton Keynes fleet, noting how they are unlike all other self-driving car efforts out there today. 

"BMW and Google and Mercedes and all these other companies have been building stuff on top of traditional cars you see on the road today,” he says.” 

Templeton says that the pod-like appearance isn't the only thing that will be different about these cars. The service has the ability to eliminate the need to park one’s one car.

More broadly, though, Templeton says it has the potential to change concepts of car ownership.

"I think a lot of people are going to switch to what we call 'mobility-on-demand.' You pick up you cell phone and you say, 'I need to go somewhere -- wherever,' and you might not own a car."

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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