|Robocar vs. the Pod: Which autonomous vehicle will dominate? |
14 July 2017 | By GCR Staff
Two very different visions of the future of autonomous vehicles are emerging. In one camp are car manufacturers gunning for hyper-intelligent and all-seeing “driverless cars”, powerful machines that promise to make car ownership sublime. In the other are governments betting on more modest vehicles – pods – that pootle along at 15mph, cleanly and efficiently getting people around in cities.
The first camp represents an exciting new high-tech twist on the dominant transport paradigm, while the second turns that paradigm on its head.
Which will win?
The UK is going for the latter by investing millions of pounds to incubate connected and autonomous vehicles, or “CAVs”, in pursuit of the “mobility as a service” business model.
A consortium led by US multinational engineer Aecom was recently given £4.2m to conduct trials of a “pods-on-demand” service in London. Its proponents say poky pods have the tech edge because they focus more on chatting to their surroundings than on heroic, lone-wolf artificial intelligence.
They also claim their business model is more in tune with social trends.
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