The Future of Transportation is a study and conference on the subject of What Next. One of our core themes is ‘Getting Transportation Off the Ground’, in which we examine how quickly personal airborne transportation systems will become viable mass transportation. The futuristic vision of skyscrapers surrounded by airborne transport for mass commuting could be just a few years away, but are the world’s governments and existing transport providers and operators sizing themselves up for the change? Will today’s automotive companies with brands that rank continuously among the world’s leading names be lost in history or will they – as, for example, Mercedes has long stated – be part of the new transport solution?
The Future of Transportation World Conference brings together world transportation leaders from automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, transportation authorities and city planners, rail and public transportation technology firms and operators, technology and software giants, drone and personal air transportation solution companies, freight and logistics companies, mass-transit solution providers, business consultants, and inventors of new and disruptive global mobility solutions, all with the common goal of devising better solutions for the increasingly demanding challenge of providing safe, efficient, sustainable transportation for the world in 2030 and beyond.
“The technology for autonomous cars is now substantially ready for mass utilisation,” continued Robinson. “The issue that holds it back is the complexity of the highway infrastructure that autonomous cars are required to operate in. This complexity includes roads that may have been conceived 50 years or more ago, intersections that are outdated, the difficulty of safeguarding pedestrians, and other peculiarities of an old road network. With the creation of an entirely new infrastructure – which is in effect what HS2 is giving rise to – the UK will have a readily utilisable landscape for the operation of Level 5 autonomous vehicles, the level at which drivers can literally sit back and relinquish control. Benefits include the potential for vehicles to ‘platoon’ very closely together, which will result in better capacity utilisation of the road network as well as better fuel efficiency, particularly in the case of commercial vehicles. Statistics relating to cost universally suggest that building a multiple-lane motorway is a lot less expensive than building a lesser-capacity railway. There is potential for a huge cost reduction for the British Government and taxpayer – money that could be better channelled into the NHS. Indeed, in terms of savings, a fully autonomous superhighway actually has the potential to eliminate accidents altogether.”
Finishing his speech, Robinson concluded, “We have a fantastic, one-off opportunity. Let’s not be so wedded to old-fashioned thinking that we miss it altogether. The decisions being made now will be fundamental to 2030/2040/2050. Let’s get it right!”