2.) Connected Cars Will Create Safer Highways and Less Construction
Provided we don’t instill our cars with a bad attitude, as suggested above, embedded technologies will make our highways safer and less stressful, and the endless cycle of construction that our roads exist in will turn into a rare inconvenience.
|Ford plans 100% connected cars by next year. (Image source: Ford Motor Company)|
Even if full operating autonomy is still a long way off, autonomous driving in a controlled setting, such as a carpool lane, is within no more than a few years of being possible.
Within the next 10 years, these carpool and express lanes will be converted to autonomous car lanes. The lanes will be restricted to vehicles that can self-drive and can communicate with other vehicles. By the end of the next decade, or not long after, virtually all commercial vehicles will be connected and perhaps a third of passenger cars will be as well.
Connected vehicles in smart cities will communicate with each other and the infrastructure around them for collective situation awareness – allowing vehicles to drive faster while staying much closer together and still being far safer than they are today. That means doubling or tripling the effective road capacity without the need to continually widen freeways.
Much of our road infrastructure is designed around the limitations of human drivers. Lane widths, traffic signals, long merge-ways, and a host of other features will become useable driving space when the vehicles are all working together. That means less real estate is needed for higher capacity roads. The smarter our networked cars are, the fewer roads we will need.