Wednesday, 5 March 2014

'Designing a Driverless World'

It was a pleasure to be invited by Arup to participate in the 'Designing a Driverless World' workshop down in San Francisco on Feb 6, 2014.

The hosts, Arup, are a consulting engineering company that I had the pleasure to work for in both the Republic of Ireland in England, for four years in the not so distant past.  Arup are a really interesting company that remain privately owned, despite being big enough to compete with anyone for the design of major infrastructure projects.  They also invest a significant sum in research and development and have their own Foresight, Research and Innovation people. In my personal opinion you might consider them the Cadillac, or Rolls Royce (depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on) of Consulting Engineers.

So it was a pleasure to spend time with my fellow consulting engineers, transportation planners, urban planners, transit operators, developers, architects etc. that really seemed to have a rapidly growing awareness of what is coming with automated vehicle deployment.  Many of the panellists and presenters obviously had a much better grasp of some of the intricacies of the subject, including Google and Qualcomm representatives amongst others.

You will see from the Arup write-up of the day that the discussions were lively, varied and included the occasional good-natured disagreement as you would expect with such varied perspectives of what the future may hold.

Of one thing I am certain, 'Designing a Driverless World' will be different to how we are designing now.

Monday, 3 March 2014

February 'AV Update' - The Momentum is Building

At CAVCOE we recently posted the February version of our automated vehicles news round-up 'AV Update' onto our website.

As you look through the previous versions of AV Update you can quickly see how there is very significant momentum building, and how this technology is rapidly grabbing the public's imagination. But surely this is what we should expect from a technology that is likely to see money flows in excess of 8% of GDP?....

In this February issue we can see a growing awareness of how AV's might impact on life in our cities. This is something that I feel very strongly about and I have written an article on this subject which is due to be published very shortly.  As soon as it is available then I will discuss it more, but for those of you that have been reading my blog posts you will recognize it as a development of my Automated Vehicle Zones (AVZ) thinking.

Why wouldn't we create the right environment for AVs to provide their full benefits as soon as possible? Why would we wait for the natural decline of human driving when it limits the benefits that we know are there with AVs?