The way people move around – particularly in cities and urban nodes – is primed for dramatic change. We can already see how living in a digitally connected society is opening the door for new business models, where companies like Uber and Taxify, for example, are changing traditional mobility patterns. However, there is also much excitement around further tech innovations in the form of artificial intelligence, connectivity, and autonomy that are on the horizon – and one much-anticipated by-product of all this is the roll-out of autonomous vehicles (AVs) or driverless cars.

#Trending: Driverless cars – yes/no?

Can you imagine ‘hailing a car’, climbing in the back seat and while you’re in transit to your destination you have time to (safely) check your social media profiles, update your Spotify playlist, check emails, make phone calls, or even try page through a couple of chapters if you’re still into paperbacks – all while the car (itself) drives you…

For decades, AVs or driverless cars have only seemed possible in blockbusters like Judge Dredd (1995), Minority Report (2002) and other similar futuristic/neo-noir science fiction films or books. But, with rapid advances in technology – from widespread connectivity and adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) in smart cities to smart cars – this is a promise of a not so far off future.

In fact, there are already trials with driverless cars underway across cities in the U.S. and UK, for example, and much of the drive behind these programmes is to test how successful AVs will be in reducing congestion within cities, but penultimately improving road safety.

Certainly, there is still a lot to be learnt from the current pilot programmes – the success of such programmes and how wider adoption of such programmes will influence society and industries, alike. And even then, a lot of planning and development will be needed to make AVs and driverless cars on our roads a reality – so it will still be a while before we all hang up our own car keys – but this is a very exciting trend and one we will continue to watch very closely in the coming years!