A recent article in BusinessWeek seems to suggest that there will be increased amount of traffic, especially in urban areas, with the advent of autonomous or self-driving cars.
It is an interesting perspective which may indeed come true if taken alone without considering other macro level transportation advances in the future. We may also see the increased usage of transportation ‘drones’, such as the one Amazon is developing to delivery packages, which may help reduce on-road vehicles. Imagine having groceries or pizza being delivered by drones instead of by road, or having your mail delivered by drones! As we are already seeing an increased level of purchases being done online, we may eventually see the delivery of these items by drones, thus reducing the need for trucks to distribute from central warehouses to brick-and-mortar stores while also reducing the need to shop and pick up those items by road.
Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure (ITS) Development will be the Key
As cars become more efficient and autonomous, intelligent transportation infrastructure (ITS) development will be key to ensuring smooth traffic flow in and around cities. This may result in more ‘smart cars’ on the road eventually, thus increasing the car density. The objective is to reduce traffic congestion even with increased car density on roads. ITS and autonomous cars offer significant opportunities as well as challenges for companies to provide advanced technologies.
The development of autonomous vehicles will result in new technologies and applications that may be applied outside the transportation industry as well. Advanced security, safety, vision, graphics, processing, analytics, sensors, mapping and other technologies being developed for self-driving cars will also find uses in other industries such as health-care, energy, retail, etc.
What are your thoughts? Let us know your perspective as well.