Autonomous vehicles are key enablers for the shift from traditional cities to smart cities. They can cut urban travel time by a third and reduce greenhouse emissions by two thirds, implying 30% fewer vehicles in crowded cities and a 40% reduction in parking spaces. Traffic accidents would be reduced by 90% using AVs, significantly improving the safety of our roads. In the coming years, we can expect over 33 million self-driving vehicles on our highways. Smooth incorporation of AVs into city infrastructure is required to leverage the boon of this cultural change, allowing on-demand transportation services for everyone, everywhere. So how exactly these autonomous machines are going to affect smart cities? Let’s find out.
Autonomous is the future – Fact or fiction?
Companies are already moving towards the era of AV. Google’s Waymo public transportation services using automated vehicles. Japanese MNC, Komatsu is doing a really great job in Autonomous Trucks testing. In 2018, Starsky Robotics became the first player in the self-driving truck game to drive in fully autonomous mode on a public road without supervision. Several companies like Robo-Taxi provide e-hailing services with self-driving cars. Further, startups like Flirtey are also testing the possibilities of delivering emergency equipment like cardiac defibrillators using drones. This is probably going to create a revolution in the logistics industry.
Are self-driving cars safe?
AV system malfunctioning has led to accidents, but they are mostly impacted by external human intervention. Take Google’s Waymo for instance. There were records of people hurling rocks at the test drivers, slashing the tires of these AVs. On an average, crash rates per million miles driven are 9.1 and 4.1 for self-driving cars and regular cars, respectively. Despite the higher rate of accidents, injuries in self-driven cars have been noted to be less serious. AV’s are better suited for difficult routes. This is a result of self-learning technology that uses complicated routes as training data to enhance and provide the best routes. Ideally, AVs wouldn’t crash often as they communicate with each other and react quicker than humans, allowing them to go faster than regular cars. So, you might have AV lanes where cars, instead of going 60 or 70 miles, go 120 to 150 miles an hour. Crashes, severe injuries, and deaths can be prevented using technologies like crash avoidance systems, assisted driving and autonomous driving.