The Great Repurposing: Envisioning the City of Driverless Cars

With driverless cars poised to appear in the not-too-distant future, planners and engineers are beginning to envision the effect on the urban landscape and the spaces within cars themselves. Nick Bilton shares some of the predictions.

"While driverless cars might still seem like science fiction outside the [Silicon] Valley, the people working and thinking about these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future," writes Bilton. "The short answer is 'a lot.'"

"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."

"As scientists and car companies forge ahead — many expect self-driving cars to become commonplace in the next decade — researchers, city planners and engineers are contemplating how city spaces could change if our cars start doing the driving for us. There are risks, of course: People might be more open to a longer daily commute, leading to even more urban sprawl."

While some are more circumspect, others envision massive change. “'What automation is going to allow is repurposing, both of spaces in cities, and of the car itself,' said Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, who specializes in robotics and drones."

Full Story: Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities

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