What might change when autonomous vehicles take over? One thing that is sure to change is human behaviour – both for passengers on board and the people on road. But vast changes to city infrastructures are also on the cards. PwC predicts that by 2030, 40% of road travel in Europe would be via autonomous vehicles. Leading consultants McKinsey outlined in a report what awaits us in a fully autonomous city.
The most significant change will take place in urban design. Authorities would have to anticipate new developments and implement necessary modifications to facilitate autonomous technology.
New road safety measures will mandatorily include elevated curbs or railings to guide autonomous vehicles, as well as to guard from going off-track in case of a mishap.
Traffic lights and street signage might be extinct. Instead, digital transportation-management systems will directly communicate with vehicles to provide information on routes, speed limits, congestions and any applicable restrictions.
Motorable road-space could be narrowed to curve out more walkways and boulevards – because autonomous vehicles would be able to safely navigate with minimum space in-between, with no risk of bumping into each other, being guided by sensors and controlled by software. And fully autonomous cars would be smaller in size too, without protruding mirrors and elaborate bumpers.