Channel Four’s economics editor, Paul Mason, has written a column giving publicity to ITS, saying that it’s the most advanced transport technology.
Writing for The Guardian, the journalist argues that rather than apply advanced technology to redesign the car, it would be more revolutionary to fully realise the potential of automated road transport?
“Done properly,” he writes, “it would be achieved socially, not through the competitive design of moving metal boxes. The most advanced technology being applied to cars right now is arguably not in-car robotics but the ITS being developed in cities. These, at a basic level, begin by analysing real-time traffic flows, adjusting signals and junction priorities, and communicating with drivers through programmable signage. But once you add in sensors and interactivity, it becomes a different ball game.”
The article explains in layman’s terms how ITS not only helps people get around, but also could make things more efficient: “If 50 drivers are individually plotting a route via GPS from Leicester to Liverpool, and we are at the stage of automated cars, there is nothing to stop an intelligent system pooling that information, and mandating the car space to be shared, in order to reduce energy consumption; to simplify the journey; to allow a national traffic manager to prioritise or deprioritise what, effectively, would become a car-train.”
Paul Mason continues: “Personally, I would quite happily leave the world of the car behind, as with the cassette tape and the landline. I only use my car to drive to three places: Tesco, Pembrokeshire and a park five miles away where my dog likes to roll in fox poop. I don’t think that would challenge the algorithmic skills of the transport programmer – and I would rather see Google and its ilk put their brainpower into producing a social solution than one based on the illusory autonomy of the robotic car.”
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