The Independent Transport Commission has published a useful report on automated cars, authored by Scott Le Vine and John Polak of Imperial College London. The tone is generally agnostic: ‘The impacts will be mixed, some good and some bad, and there will no doubt be surprises and unintended consequences along the way.’
I am skeptical about the impact of driverless cars on the transport system. They would be essentially taxis with robot drivers. Taxis are useful, and we would make more use of them if vehicle automation brought down the costs, but the impact on road speeds and congestion does not seen likely to be large.