People still imagine autonomous cars as a technology which is reserved for science fiction films like The 6th Day, Minority Report and the most famous one The Batman, where all human’s imagination is used to show how the world will change with autonomous vehicles technology. However, Autonomous Vehicles are still in the conceptual development phase and a lot of work is needed to do on its technical and technological aspects which will take some time.
New research by Professor Scott Cohen from the University of Surrey and Dr. Debbie Hopkins from the Oxford University lay its emphasis on how autonomous vehicles will make their way by 2025 and their far-reaching impacts on urban tourism.
How autonomous vehicles will shape urban tourism
With the potential of fewer cars on the streets, parking loads will be reduced which will create the possibility of new public urban spaces. Taxi fares may be reduced as rideshare networks increase.
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Also, there are many other potential benefits to AVs becoming an integrated part of our cityscapes. These include the reduction in traffic congestion and emissions from fossil fuel reliant vehicles as well as one person can experience mobile restaurant and room where he can eat or sleep freely with no tension in his moving vehicle which can give tough competition to many food chains and hotels.
Many incumbent vehicles manufactures are hoping to have commercially-viable automated driving capabilities in multiple car models by 2020 as well as new entrants to the motor industry like Google, Apple and Uber are also aiming to develop a fully automated vehicle along a similar timeline.
Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi has restated Uber’s plan to have flying cars zipping around US cities within ten years and robot taxis on streets within 10-15 years. His brave attempt can encourage many other business magnates to think about investing in this technology.
Concerns related to AV technology
Besides the positive side, there is also a list of some concerns related to the technology which needs to be pointed out. Firstly, there will be a threat of greater urban sprawl and increase car dependency. Secondly, due to autonomous technology, there will be a reduction in demand for train travel, public transport, and driven taxis, resulting in huge amount of job losses in the transport sector as well as a division in class over access to the new autonomous systems. Last but not least, totally connected systems due to autonomous technology may also raise the possibility of a terror threat. The research is aimed at urban planners, architects and policy makers who will also be affected by the rise of the autonomous ecosystem.
Professor Cohen gives a brief explanation on this advanced technology by saying,” This groundbreaking study will benefit urban planners, policymakers and the tourism and hospitality industries, who will face a range of threats and opportunities as AVs begin to reach the mass market in the coming decade.”
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