We talk a lot about how connected cars and autonomous vehicles are going to shape smart cities, but that’s looking through the wrong end of the binoculars, writes Annie Turner. Cities are going to have a profound impact on the automotive industry in future.
Already they are flexing their muscles with a number of European cities looking to ban diesel cars from their streets by 2025. In June, the Texas Innovation Alliance – made up of various cities in the state along with universities – issued a joint request for proposals for purchase or lease of automated vehicle solutions, primarily focused on the short-trip market. Leveraging their combined buying power to keep costs down is likely to be a widely used model the world over.
The question is, do the cities have a good enough understanding of the issues and what they need to do to get the best possible outcome for all parties? The Smart Cities Council states that investing in digital infrastructure is critical if cities are to leverage their physical infrastructure and realise the full potential of autonomous vehicles. This includes reducing congestion, pollution and accidents while improving movement around the city to improve its ‘liveability’ for all citizens and productivity for businesses.