Will cars be necessary in our future? Many younger drivers are already taking a pass on driver’s licenses. Companies like Google and Uber are investing large amounts of resources to redefine how we view cars. In the near future you may be able to pull out your phone and request a ride, but instead of a car with a driver, you would be picked up in a driverless pod designed with your immediate needs in mind. In this future, cities would be able to reclaim all the space lost to parking, and fewer cars on the road would mean cleaner air for all.
The city of London is one step closer in making this vision a reality. A total of seven driverless pods will begin to roam the streets of London this summer, according to ABC News on Jan. 29. The pods will be similar in design to the shuttles that take passengers from the parking lot to the terminal at Heathrow airport, but instead of running on a track these new pods will be able to navigate the streets on their own. The pods will seat up to six passengers and a steward who will be there in case of emergencies.
Starting in July, the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) will run for three months and test how successful this new technology is in a busy urban environment.
Driverless cars are still at an early stage and are not without flaws, such as their potential vulnerability to hackers. Still, a successful trial run could inspire other cities to follow suit and pave the way for a future where pods are the best way to get around.