As the population of the world grows, so must it's transporting network. Most major cities (with all their taxis, buses, trains, trams and the ever-growing popularity of dockless bicycles and electric scooters) face the growing issue of having to fit more into fewer spaces.
Electric vehicles will undoubtedly help alleviate the devastating consequences of pollution. And significant emphasis by both Government and Private/Public companies believe that automation of vehicles will drastically enable cities to become more efficient within their limited space.
By Q2 of 2020, London could have its first influx of driverless tube trains. It estimates that it will "increase capacity on the Central Line by 25%, the Bakerloo Line by 25%, the Waterloo & City Line by 50% and the Piccadilly Line by 60%.” This is said to reduce the number of signal failures that plague many morning commutes, with the added bonus of wireless internet and air conditioning through the entirety of the commuters journey.
Autonomous cars are also going to become more of reality for Londoners as the Department for Business and Transport has put £12.8M into research and development of self-driving technology. So we may see an autonomous taxis such as Waymo emerge. Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, a tech firm has recently launched the Waymo One, their first autonomous commercial taxi service for those within the metro Phoenix area. Commuters can ask to be picked up at any time during any day similarly to Uber and Via Van, complete with price estimates and trip reviews.
However, it won’t come without consequences. Job losses will be at an all-time high within large cities as many make their living from driving taxis, minicabs, delivery, trains, trams, etc.. New jobs will be created in the autonomous industry but these will require people with very different skills. The psychological impact is still unknown, so are we ready to immerse ourselves with all that technology has to offer? Will it free up our time, or is it a stepping towards the world of Wall-E where we roll around on floating chairs, staring at screens navigating through social media while becoming obese? - this is anyone's guess, but I'll look forward to the journey.
The Curious programme is made up of a combination of always-on content curation (blogs/article and a bi-weekly digest) alongside dedicated 'seasons', in which we host a series of deep-dive talks on a given theme or topic.