Imagine driving in a world with….
Less traffic and pollution whilst you sail smoothly along, free from the stress of navigating your way to an unknown destination.
Personal Rapid Transit as an alternative means of travel is not a new concept. Since the 1970s, numerous global companies have developed Personal Rapid Transit Systems (PRT) for accelerated transportation, from West Virginia University, to more recent systems such as the Ultra PRT network at Heathrow International airport and the Masdar City pod car system in Abu Dhabi. The reality of pod cars as a means of personal transportation to replace conventional cars is now more imminent than ever. Last year Uber launched its first ground-breaking driverless fleet. Over the last 12 years, Nissan have been developing autonomous cars which they estimate will be introduced in another 5 years from now. Yet whilst pod cars offer the impressive benefits of convenient, affordable and safe travel it is worth considering some of the stumbling blocks that still exist. Driverless cars are currently run using a network of cameras and roof-mounted sensors that could be impeded by rain or snow. Furthermore, concerns of privacy and protection from hacking will need to be mitigated. It is likely that pod cars will still be run on fuel, so radical reductions in emissions may not be an immediate benefit of the new transport. Yet, driverless cars will make the transition to electric vehicles easier, make cities more appealing and incentivise car sharing.
Applicants for Physics, Natural Sciences and Engineering may like to research the current technology behind the driverless cars, whilst applicants for Land Economy, and Geography could consider the implications of pod cars on urban development. Those applying for Law may be interested in researching the recent law suit filed by Google, claiming the Uber stole information to develop the driverless technology.