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Self driving vehicles: a disruption in the making IV

Autonomous vehicles will have a profound impact on Society, transforming cities and the way we inhabit them. Credit: Intel

Societal changes will happen slowly over a few decades and possibly they won’t be noticed till one reaches a point when looking back at what was normal 50 years before would seem compeltely out of place 50 years later.

We are already seeing in some areas that the car’s myth is fading away, in some places it is already over. A growing percentage of youngsters consider the ownership of a smartphone more important than the ownership pf a car. In some densely popuated urban areas a tiny, but growing, percentage of youngsters no longer takes the driving licence. In thirty years time most yongsters (not yet born) will not take a driving license (as today’s you wouldn’t dream of taking a license to drive a public bus or a metro. 

The use of self driving vehicles will reduce the number of tickets to zero, there won’t be anymore drivers around to fine. A society where everyone plays according to the rules (at least in driving) is soemthing unheard of today. 

Today there are several usage of multimodal transportation, like going to a train station with your car, parking it to get a train and once you get downtown you hop on a bike. In the future one might expect hopping from one car to another, as one car may only take you to the boundary of an area and then you will need to hop on another car for continuing on. Of course, one could expect that the first car will have negotiated your pick up by another car. And if you are travelling in a pod the exchange will take place as you sit in you pod.

A city with autonomous vehicles is a city with significant less vehicles and very very few parked vehicles. Hence the streets will seems larger. The autonomous vehicles wil negotiate among themselves the use of the roads, there won’t be any predefined one way street, the flow of traffic will be dynamically orchestrated as needed.
Going from A to B will be a matter to selecting the resources required (a slot in the traffic) and this will be done by the vehicle that will be informing its passengers of the arrival time.

People will get used to book a transportation means based on the requied arrival time, rather than on the pick up time. Very convenient, although it won’t be possible to claim that one is late because of the traffic!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. He's currently the Chair of the Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative of IEEE-FDC. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and up to September 2018 he was the Head of the EIT Digital Industrial Doctoral School. Previously, up to December 2011, he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books. He writes a daily blog,  http://sites.ieee.org/futuredirections/category/blog/, with commentary on innovation in various technology and market areas.

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