The Bartlett School of Planning


Dr. Robin Hickman discusses driverless cars as part of Guardian Cities Cycle Week

23 June 2017

Dr. Robin Hickman discusses the problems posed by the prospect of driverless cars in this article published by the Guardian on 14 June 2017.

Driverless Cars

 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?

...what action should a driverless car be programmed to take when it sees a cyclist or a pedestrian in its path? And what happens if people crossing roads learn they can simply walk in front of AVs which will be forced to brake?

Robin Hickman, a reader in transport and city planning at University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning, believes this makes driverless cars “unworkable” on busy urban streets.

“In terms of the algorithm for dealing with obstacles that move in unpredictable ways, like cyclists or pedestrians, I would say that’s unsolvable,” says Hickman. “If a pedestrian knows it’s an automated vehicle, they will just take the priority. It would take you hours to drive down a street in any urban area.

“And in the context of India or China,” he adds, “where there are different types of vehicles, more pedestrians, more cyclists, I would say it’s even more difficult for the AV to mix with all these unpredictable users.”

Read  the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/14/street-wars-2035-cyclists...