Collaboration and the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Monday, April 30

The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Driverless cars are predicted to have a significant impact on the UK and global economies, with the UK market for connected and autonomous vehicles estimated to be worth £28bn by 2035 and 27,400 new jobs in the manufacture of autonomous vehicles predicted to be created over this period. Experts from the motor industry offer their thoughts on how an increase in autonomous vehicles on roads will impact a range of aspects of the industry.

Collaboration between companies and organizations could be key

Referring specifically to personal vehicles, ridesharing options, public transportation and the shipping and logistics industry, roadway infrastructure in the United States will see a major overhaul in technology and development strategies. Conceptually, it’s easy to contemplate a world of connectedness where our cars talk to our phones, which talk to our homes, which feed information back to utility companies to optimise their own networks, and municipalities create convenience for their citizens in the form of traffic control, emergency services, public works and public transportation.

The first step for any municipality to consider when contemplating how they can support the evolving technologies like autonomous vehicles is for them to examine their own existing infrastructure. Light poles, parks, city-owned land, city-owned buildings, public works assets and similar assets serve a solid baseline for municipalities in preparation for technologies of the future. By taking a hard look at what they already own, municipalities can prepare use cases whereby they capitalise on widespread deployment of fibre and wireless nodes. In leveraging these assets, they can work with telecommunications companies and equipment manufacturers through Private and Public Partnerships to realise the benefits of connectivity sooner than later.

Other areas’ municipalities should be prepared to look at are crosswalks and intersections. Given some of the autonomously driving vehicle incidents with Tesla and Uber, concerns around pedestrians sharing the road have escalated. Some mid-term solutions will involve broader deployment of public safety initiatives. While technology serves a key role in some of these initiatives, other plans examine more basic infrastructure changes. For example, Las Vegas utilises a series of elevated crosswalks across much of the city to prevent pedestrians from crossing busy intersections. This has proven effective by preventing the possibility of pedestrian/vehicle incidents. Similarly, cement barrier and bollard solutions have been deployed in NYC to try and eliminate incidents.

Greater collaboration between the telecoms, auto manufacturers, logistics companies, Departments of Transportation through P3 (private/public partnerships) initiatives will yield synergies in development and meaningful capital contribution. Use of assets for the placement of fibre and antennae can serve as a baseline for revenue generation through ‘right of use’ agreements.

– Keith Pennachio, executive vice president, SQUAN

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