Your next car might drive itself. “The technology is essentially here,” Barack Obama told Wired magazine this month. Robin Chase, the transportation entrepreneur who co-founded Zipcar, reckons driverless cars are “three-and-a-quarter years away”. Yet we have barely begun to think about how they will revolutionise our lives, revamp our cities — and destroy tens of millions of jobs.
After years of trials on city streets, driverless vehicles are now nearing the live phase. Last month, a driverless bus began carrying passengers through Lyon, France. Most in the automobile industry think self-driving vehicles will be on the road by 2020 or before, says Richard Holman, head of foresight and trends at General Motors.
Driverless cars will initially coexist with human-driven cars. But the first places where they will become dominant are dense urban areas — precisely the spots most damaged by the automobile age.
Read more: Driverless cars will change everything