Welcome to the Automated City
The increasing concern of the world, is the health of our planet. Every city trying to expand at reduce its carbon footprint at the same time. Scientists and engineers doing everything they can to develop new technologies to help improve the current situation without trading convenience for a greener result. We've heard many things about autonomous cars and the incredible developments in the field. Even in this blog, we've mentioned it several times. From the announcements of self driving vehicles being tested by Google and other big names to Tesla's testing of their autopilot function, we continue to anticipate the next development in this area.
These driverless pods had already been in use at the Heathrow Airport for almost 5 years now, will be making their debut on the streets this summer, along with a few tweaks. These Ultra Pods are fully autonomous electric vehicles that have had a huge impact on the carbon footprint of the airport, reducing their annual carbon emmisions by 100 tonnes.
As part of the GATEway project to study automated transport environments in the United Kingdom, the pods won't require tracks to run on to guide them and will instead join regular traffic on normal roads. The key goal is to research and understand automated shuttle services and their public acceptance into the cities. Heathrow Enterprises will be working with Oxbotica on mapping, software and crucial planning systems for the operation of these autonomous vehicles. The pods will be available to be booked through a smartphone app.
Another similar idea that will be rolling out soon, is EasyMile's EZ10 driverlous bus. The French firm's electric vehicle is to operate in a business park in California as well as one in Singapore. This vehicle is completely autonomous to a point where there is no steering wheel. Designed for last mile travel or looped routes, it won't be seen on the roads anytime soon, but is definitely something to keep an eye on. It could be looked at as a one-up from the Lutz Pathfinder, which is already operating in many locations around the world.
With gradual integration of these autonomous vehicles into cities regular roads, we will begin to see our society begin to change. Perhaps one day, autonomous cars will be the law, and car insurance will have to cover completely different fields. Either way, the way cities run will begin to change, in the very near future.