Will driverless cars change our cities for better or worse?

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Do electric private-hire driverless cars represent a huge opportunity to redesign our urban environment?

Today’s revolution in controlled autonomous vehicles (CAV) combines advances in artificial intelligence and electric car technology with the disruptive hire model of firms like Uber. Though definitions of CAVs vary from a car controlled totally by computer to one with a level of automation enabling humans to drive more safely, on one thing all agree: CAV is set to transform how people, cars and the city interact. 

The onset of CAVs has brought a flurry of excited predictions about how cities of the future might look. Google, a leading developer of CAV technology, has predicted that in the car-dominated US, driverless cars could release the country’s estimated 105 million parking spaces for new schools, hospitals, parks and housing with a combined size “bigger than Connecticut”.

“Driverless cars could remove the pedestrian defences conventionally required and open up the space for all manner of recreational pursuits”

David Rudlin, Urbed

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