Autonomous vehicles: dystopia or utopia?

The talk is based on research of the Royal College of Arts in London. Together with some students the researchers brainstormed some different types of autonomous transportation. This can be people carriers like mobile offices or family transport, but also be oriented towards goods, or provide services like mobile litter bins or vending machines.

After the students, there was input from the general public and architects to raise concerns or hopes.

Better environment, cleaner cities, more comfort in the commutes and safer streets were mentioned as positive outcomes. Safety was also mentioned as a potential negative one. Some respondents were not trusting of the AI in autonomous cars and robots, but also the ‘social safety’ was mentioned. If there are less people walking on the streets, will there still be sufficient social control?

Other potential negative outcomes mentioned were the loss of (transportation) jobs, and the control of Big Business on transportation.

The DIF has a strong focus on the Circular Economy. Some environmental aspects mentioned were less need for cars (only 10% of the number of cars would cover all transportation needs), faster adoption of electric and other new technologies and the easier sharing of other goods since you don’t need to bring or mail them any more.