When I was a child I had a book that dreamed the future.  One of the things in that book were cars that drove down highways (driverless) on a kind of inbuilt steel rail.  Of course this came to nothing.  But wait over the past few years technology leapt ahead & now Google cars are getting around Silicon Valley.  One report I read recently said they have 10 cars on the road there 24/7.  They have now done 300,000 miles.  Two accidents.  One hit by another car and the 2nd when the Google car was being driven by a human.  These cars are now up to 70 mph  on the road. 

We all know about the cars that can self park been around for years), the cars that can find a car space at the AUDI factory (bit newer)and so on.  I am amazed that this dream of my childhood may become a common reality in the next decade.

I then saw this report in the Personal Tech column in the NY Times on July 7 2013.  Hence the headline for the discussion.  How will this affect our cities?  City planners are now starting to think this through.  Take the time to read.


"That city of the future could have narrower streets because parking spots would no longer be necessary. And the air would be cleaner because people would drive less. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30 percent of driving in business districts is spent in a hunt for a parking spot, and the agency estimates that almost one billion miles of driving is wasted that way every year."

California has given a partial green light to the testing


They are speculating that land use devoted to parking may reduce.  How??

Then another story considering how this may affect city revenues from things like parking meter revenue.


Obviously I have posted this as I wonder how it will affect cyclists. One of the things they mention is the cars may have sensors for intersections so traffic lights become less required.  How do bicycles fit into all this???

Love to hear your thoughts.  As the first word says Disruption..........


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Thanks Aaron.  I'll look at that

What it means is.

a - affluent families will have 4 cars, his, hers, and 2 cars for the kids, so will gravitate towards suburbs where they can park 4 cars.  2 in the driveway and both spots on the kerb.  When you go visit, you'll have to send your car away to find a parking spot.

b - families will less capital will have 1 car, which will do about 15,000 kms a year completely empty shuttling between the needs of each family member.  If it so turns out one wants to get somewhere half an hour before the other, you can be sure the car will do net 4 trips to implement that.

c - taxis drive themselves.  Taxis worldwide will speak your language when you get in them.  They'll probably even greet you by name that they read off your phone.  They'll probably hose themselves out after each journey or otherwise be able to detect various sorts of soiling.

d - people with no local parking will send their cars to some free location to park it.

e - empty cars will circle blocks because their owners phoned them in to pick them up.

f - some people will cartel parking spots simply by joining networks that identify parking spots to each other.

driverless is prt imo, prt that uses roads as track. 

if taxis became driverless, then taxis and hirecars are a blurred concept and such a company can start offering seriously downsized single seat taxis for commuting, that are single track, which is instant halving of the space consumption of moving vehicles, that will instantly allow for a massive increase in road efficiency.  They can also cooperate to sit out of the way if the roads are full, platoon etc.

In the city they can then not park _any_ cars, as the cars will go to next-hire first, and depot if no hire, and the depot can stack cars in ways that are impossible when random driver X has to get to specific car Y because they own it.

The problem is that car makers will want to sell individuals, expensive luxury 7 seaters because of margin, and those people still want to buy them, and those people vote, ie we will get driverless in the worst possible way because everyone wants status symbol luxury ahead of rapid efficient transport, and election cycle politicians can't see past it.

>“I could sleep in my driverless car, or have an exercise bike in the back of the car to work out on the way to work,” he said. “My time spent in my car will essentially be very different.”

Sounds like a dystopia to me.

We already have lanes full of driverless cars. All the occupants are on their smart phones. How will this help?

Will the driverless car still be programmed to close shave cyclists?

UK is going to be the next one!




UK to test self-driving cars on public roads this year

Driverless cars will soon be rolling across the UK's public roadways, thanks to a government decision to permit tests by the end of 2013, reports BBC News. A report from the country’s Department of Transport gives a rundown of the plans, which it believes will lower congestion and improve safety — part of a £50 billion investment aimed at upgrading the country’s roads.

The UK is joining a handful of US states that are already testing driverless cars, including California (where they are street legal), Florida, and Nevada, with Michigan not far behind. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pushing for other states to follow suit. Over the past year, automakers including NissanAudi, andToyota have all been investing heavily in autonomous cars, as has Google, which expects to release its technology commercially within the next three to five years.

Driverless cars will bring the end of auto-domination of our streets. Cyclists and pedestrians will quickly learn that they can use the streets at their own pace, confident that the cars will respect their rights. I know I'll be glad to cycle along in a full lane at 15 km/h wherever I like, perhaps with a friend doing the same thing in the adjacent lane.

As a pedestrian, simply hovering near the kerb will be enough to slow the traffic to a crawl, lest you step off onto the road.

I can't wait.

But maybe they will have some sort of assertiveness/aggressiveness algorithm that will slow the car down initially if a bike is on the road but gradually ramp it up and nudge the cyclist aside if they fail to move over...?

Well they would if certain groups had their way!

Will they say "SMIDSY" in a Stephen Hawking robotic voice?

Right now we seem to be in a transition of responsibility.

Parking? Let my magic car take care of it!

Braking suddenly? Let my magic car take care of it!

Run over a cyclist? Siri, what should I do about this cyclist jammed under the car?

Sometimes I think this would be a good thing, I've often though on a long transport run an auto pilot would be awesome. I hate driving in this regulated day and age, the roads are too crowded to be fun anymore. Back in the day a sunday run on my motor bike was something to look forward to but now even the quiet 'scratching' roads are full of bloody cars going to some market in Wollombi or other and the cops always seem to round a the corner just as your knee is about to touch down. These days the roads are just to get you there not a bloody race track. See now I sound like my dad?!

 However you'd hope the computer driving the car will look kindly on pedestrians and cyclists, as Alf said SMIDSY in Hawking. 8-)


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