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Automotive Vehicles (AV’s) otherwise known as self-driving vehicles, operate by computer software driving you safely from A to B. This can be done in a shorter travel time and can run almost 24/7. I will explore the role AV’s and why would they be beneficial to us today.

The technology is still being understood and tested today, however, when perfected it can reduce car incidents entirely. Additionally, it removes the need for a driver allowing less concentration on the road, helping them focus on other tasks.

Who are they for?

AV’s are for everyone, from the average commuter, it makes their journey quicker and stress free. To the disabled individuals, its gives better accessibility to facilities and services without relying on a person to driver. It means many of us will have less stressful driving experiences and car accidents in the future and a more time efficient journey.

Why do we need them?

In a world with a growing and ageing population, the demand for privately owned cars increases, consistently making congestion worse. It is predicted AV’s will reduce car numbers in cities by up to 80% (Urban Design Group, 2018). Removing the need for parking lots by supermarkets or by employment centres (theGuardian, 2018). This would allow for more public space rather than parking spaces dominating areas around the city.

Image result for full parking lot

A full parking lot – (1)

Moving towards electric cars solves the issue of vehicle pollution, because today 75% of all vehicles are cars, and the damage they cause from by CO2 and NO2 is detrimental to ourselves and the environment. We also have to take into account, the high number of vehicle accidents by drivers. AV’s are fully aware of the surroundings at all time thanks to sensors and has quicker reaction time, to prevent an incident.

AV’s could come in the form of car sharing as this is a way to reduce the number of vehicles, but they can also expand to public transport, including buses and tram systems. As a result, our road infrastructure can be decreased with less lanes, resulting in more pedestrianised spaces (bigthink, 2017).

Vision of self driving vehicles (2)

How can they adapt to city infrastructure?

In Urban Design, planning for electric vehicle charging points would allow AV’s to charge wirelessly, meaning they can be entirely self-sufficient. We would need to think about car ownership in cities and move away from private models in order to reduce vehicle numbers. Additionally, reducing the parking ratio in new developments would help minimise car dependency.

Case study

Tesla who is the main promoter of self driving cars and electric cars, envisions to improve travel efficiency, reduce car usage and give us safer roads with AV’s. They test AV’s daily, in cities and towns and want to bring driverless cars to help tackle climate change and today’s infrastructure challenges. However, this is not going to be implemented overnight, the technology is still being piloted and tested, but it is predicted by 2030, we will have more AV’s on the road than cars. Overall, AV’s hold much potential in the future and they can help save lives as well as improve them.

Telsa’s self driving car sensors (3)

References

bigthink (2017) How Self-Driving Cars Will Transform Urban Living for the Better [Online] Available at: http://bigthink.com/articles/how-self-driving-cars-will-transform-urban-living-for-the-better [Accessed 21st May 2018]

theGuardian (2018) The Guardian view on cars and drivers: more haste less speed [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/25/the-guardian-view-on-cars-and-drivers-more-haste-less-speed [Accessed 21st May 2018]

Urban Design Group (2018) Post conflict urban design, Urban design group journal, 146, pp.8-9.

 

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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