Car manufacturer Jaguar has teamed up with architect Tom Barton of Barr Gazetas to imagine the consequences of an electrified automotive future on cities. Taking four case studies across the United Kingdom, the team speculated on existing infrastructural issues, and the opportunities for improvement made possible by the advent of electric cars.
With 180,000 electric vehicles on UK roads in 2018 and 1 million estimated by 2020, the case studies imagine a future where green alternatives to fossil fuels power transport and buildings in zero-emission cities. Below, we have republished the four scenarios, featuring a motorway, inner-city car park, industrial wasteland, and a wider urban landscape.
Driver Less Vision, an installation at the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism by Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin, is an immersive 3D video experience comprised of spatial scans of Seoul, projected into a dome and paired with surround sound. The supporting audio is the internal monologue of a personified autonomous vehicle, driving through the streets of a future Seoul, Korea. The installation transports vierers to the front seat of the autonomous vehicle, providing a new perspective of traversing cities—through the car’s point of view.
Manhattan-based architecture practice Edg has created an ambitious proposal that replaces major highways into driverless ones, as well as adding green corridors spanning the length of the island. Named “Loop NYC,” the scheme aims to improve Manhattanites' quality of life and reduce the city’s urban pollution. Edg has released a video outlining the proposal and its uses (see above)—read on for the project breakdown.
Four teams have been selected as finalists in the “Driverless Future Challenge.” Organized by Blank Space with the City of New York and NY Tech Meetup, the competition asked teams to envision future strategies for implementation of autonomous transit in New York City.
Participants were tasked with evaluating the future of autonomous transportation through the four principles outlined by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC initiative:
Equity - Making sure all citizens benefit from autonomous technology, focusing on accessibility, focusing on transit deserts, creating new jobs.
Sustainability - Reduce need for parking, curbing emissions, increase carpooling, introducing micro-transit, new green spaces and bike lanes, renewable energy sources.
Resilience - A more durable and safer transit system, reducing drunk driving, “Vision Zero,” pedestrian-first, faster emergency services.
Entries were received from more than 25 countries, proposing ideas for everything from driverless food carts and a fully-autonomous MTA transit system, to enhanced use of NYC’s 311 system as a driverless dispatching center, to Link NYC Wifi stations that become stops for autonomous micro-buses. The four finalist teams were selected by a multidisciplinary jury featuring top architects including Jeffrey Inaba (Inaba Williams), Odile Decq (Studio Odile Decq) and Jürgen Mayer H. (J. MAYER H.).
In the race to bring driverless cars from a futuristic fantasy to a present-day reality, developers have touted a plethora of advantages, from reduced traffic congestion on roads to improved safety thanks to the elimination of human error. But the potential widespread implementation of driverless cars could also have profound impacts on the form of our urban environments, fundamentally reshaping infrastructure and land use. As recently as a year ago, this new technology was seen as decades away; however, recently Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla, predicted that driverless cars will be capable of making cross-country treks within about two years, and a pilot program in the United Kingdom city of Milton Keynes plans to launch a fleet of driverless pod-taxis by 2018, matching Musk’s timeline.
The driverless car future could be just around the corner, and the normally slow-changing infrastructure of cities could be forced to apply quick fixes to adapt. At the same time, the full potential of driverless cars cannot be realized without implementing significant changes to the urban fabric. So how will driverless cars change how our cities work, and how will our cities adapt to accommodate them?