Laura Laker at Guardian Cities writes: Street wars 2035: can cyclists and driverless cars ever co-exist? | Guardian Cities
“Driverless cars appear unstoppable – except of course you can simply walk in front of one and force it to brake. Could this conundrum eventually mean a return to a dystopian world of segregated urban highways?”
I was interviewed, my quotes below …
Or how about prosecuting pedestrians or cyclists who get in the way of driverless cars? David Levinson, a professor at the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney, is broadly supportive of AVs, but says: “It’s very big brother like, there’s a question of safety v freedom. How much risk to endanger yourself are we going to let you take?”
Thinking back to the kids stopping driverless cars on our imaginary future street, Levinson sees a future where blocking a driverless car could even be criminalised. “The car has a camera and the picture will be sent to the police department, and the police department will come and arrest you for annoying an autonomous vehicle.”
Given these challenges, experts including Hickman and Levinson believe segregation and AV-only roads are inevitable. But wouldn’t that risk a return to the urban dystopia of the 1960s and 70s, when planners crisscrossed cities with elevated highways and erected barriers around roads with the aim of improving safety? The unintended consequences were fast, aggressive driving, and the splitting in two of countless communities.
“I think there will be some roads that will be transformed to higher speed roads,” says Levinson. “I’d be sceptical of someone who says we will not do any of that. But if you can move traffic away from the lower speed streets that pedestrians and cyclists want to use, that’s an improvement.”
Hickman believes “the case is overwhelming against AVs” but fears the powerful motor industry lobby means there is so much private and government money already at stake that the rise of driverless cars would be hard to stop.