As AV (autonomous vehicle) technology rapidly improves, the reality of AVs taking to city streets is making its way into public consciousness. From Audi to Volvo, almost every major auto manufacturer has begun to invest significant resources in AV research. Many are developing in-house expertise through dedicated R&D groups, such as Audi’s Urban Future Initiative and Nissan-Renault’s Future Lab.
While the technology is starting to take clear shape, the question of just how AVs will be integrated into our cities and lifestyles is less certain. Will autonomous cars contribute to an urban dystopia of endless commutes through sprawling cities, or a sustainable future where convenient and affordable mobility contributes to the vitality of our cities? The reality is likely to be somewhere in between, but it will take a collaborative approach between municipalities, urban planners, entrepreneurs, and engineers to harness the potential benefits of AVs.