The City of the Future (Will Require the Necessary Infrastructure), Today

While some may be disappointed by how cities aren't yet swarming with robots and automated cars, Frank Swain writes that it's a matter of when we humans can tailor our landscapes to enable the new technology.

"If automated cars are really on the horizon, then we will have to invest heavily in infrastructure to make the roads robot-friendly. This could mean radio beacons at pedestrian crossings, or road markings inlaid with inductive loops so that cars can sense where to stop at complicated junctions. We'd also need signs to warn drivers as they leave a road that is configured to support automated cars.

On the street, shops and businesses might supplement eye-catching signs with ones suited to electronic optics. In Korea, commuters can now shop at virtual supermarkets by scanning murals of groceries plastered across metro platforms. The advent of inexpensive robotic systems might even herald a return to the old system of grocery shopping, where customers presented a list of goods for the store assistant to fetch."

Full Story: The Future Is Machine-Readable

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