Although we probably still have to wait a few years before the first self-driving car will be delivered, the people working and thinking about these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future. The answer? “A lot.”
So, what could these cars do for urban infrastructure? What will change in cities all over the world if autonomous driving becomes mainstream?
The New York Times imagines it this way: “Inner-city parking lots could become parks. Traffic lights could be less common because hidden sensors in cars and streets coordinate traffic. And, yes, parking tickets could become a rarity since cars would be smart enough to know where they are not supposed to be.” Thereby, there could be narrower streets because parking spots would no longer be necessary. Pavements will be bigger and there will be enough space for trees and other green stuff. With more space for cycling and more space for walking, cities could become more quiet and more relaxed.
On top of that, traffic will be really organized and without any accidents (let’s hope so). Although a video showing off the automated traffic intersection looks like total chaos, the researchers insist that such intersections will reduce congestion and fuel costs and can allow cars to drive through cities without stopping.
Of course, getting to an utopian city will take a little longer than circling the block looking for a spot. A spokesman for Audi said a fully automated car will be available at the end of the decade. Our favorite infographic of Dashburst says 2017. We can’t wait.