A cost-effective alternative to owning a car may be closer than you think.

Earlier this week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a set of formal recommendations to assist states across the US in regulating autonomous vehicles. These guidelines have been developed to ensure the sector maintains the highest human safety measures, whilst still encouraging world-class innovation.

The recommendations come at a time of great activity in the autonomous vehicle world – with the rising interest in driverless cars just one of many promising indicators that this current era of excessive personal vehicle ownership is coming to an end. 

To perfectly compliment the release of these regulations the latest Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) report explores the possibility of the emergence of a new, superior, mobility system. Their report, Peak Car Ownership: The Market Opportunity of Electric Automated Mobility Services, highlights the considerable advantages that will come in a robotic car world. 

Presently only a very small percentage of Americans use taxis or ubers as their primary transportation mode – with personal vehicle ownership the second highest expense for most US families and with the majority of cars sitting unused (parked) for 96 per cent of the time – this is terrible asset utilisation.

Peak Car Ownership predicts that automated mobility services could capture two-thirds of the entire US mobility market in 15 to 20 years, that costs to users would be the same as owning and operating a car, and that CO2 emissions would be reduced along with the country's dependence on oil. 

So, what would the world look like if it embraced this cost-effective, autonomous car alternative? What would change if mobility services – such as Uber & Lyft – were performed by autonomous vehicles? Take our quiz and find out what the world will look like with driverless cars. 

RMI are determined to see the autonomous car industry be both supported and championed by officials, safety advocates, environmental organisations and urban designers across the globe – calling for the well overdue overhaul of the current ransportation system, which is both dangerous and failing. 

To learn more about RMI's work visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.