By Dom Nozzi
A friend of mine – who is a dedicated environmentalist, and in agreement with me on a great many issues — recently gushed about how much she was looking forward to the growing advances in cars that are robotically able to drive themselves.
But I was less than fully supportive of her enthusiasm.
I told her that I don’t buy the claim that we can build cars that will drive themselves, and that our transportation future will be solved or made significantly better if that were pursued. Automation of cars (and planes and transit and other things) scares me, because I don’t see how we can eliminate human error in the design of such things, or design automation that is so sophisticated that it can ALWAYS properly respond to an incredibly complex world of situations.
I am certain that we will never see a world where everyone gets around in their own personal George Jetson flying machine piloted by robots and using unlimited, no-pollution fuel. That, like the Christian heaven, is pure fantasy.
The key for our future is to not design robot cars. It is to design communities where car use is an option. Where it makes rational sense for nearly all of us to use high-quality transit (operated by humans rather than robots).
Technology is not going to save us. Unless we change our behavior by, among other things, re-arranging how our communities are designed, our world will collapse.
There is no future in private, motorized transportation.
Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.
Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com
My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607
My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:
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