Rubber on the Road

Driverless cars are finally taking off (potentially literally), as last week Airbus announces the production of a ‘flycar’ by the end of the year. ‘Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,’ said Doc Brown in ‘Back to the Future’, referring to his imminent trip to the Year 2015. However, for the time being, we do still need them, with Uber and Carnegie Mellon having invested considerably in configuring roadways in Pittsburgh to optimize them for automated use. A recently published patent by Amazon also confirms the interest of the retailer in this area, with its logistics strategy surely a key motivator. The UK is talked about as a preferred centre for autonomous car technology, with strong support from the Government (hub to be announced in Q1) and companies such as Nissan. The potential impact of driverless cars on our cities could be immense – Uber courageously claims that 20% of space in (admittedly less dense US cities) could be saved through the elimination of car parking, freeing up land for higher value uses.