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How useful are driverless cars?

NCE stock roads

Intelligent street lighting and travel updates would be more useful than the ability to order driverless cars by phone, according to a poll of more than 500 people across the UK.

Three in 10 respondents to a survey carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology chose movement-activated street lighting as the most useful of five potential smart city technologies.

Fewer than one in 10 chose autonomous or electric vehicles that could be ordered by smart phone.

The three other options – energy-generating, waste recycling buildings; live travel info; and congestion sensors – ranked in the middle of the popularity table.

Just 18% of respondents had heard of the term ‘smart city’, according to the IET report.

IET head of thought leadership Alan Howard called for greater emphasis on the human outcomes of technological initiatives.

“Putting people first, rather than technology, is essential if we are to improve quality of life and create liveable, connected and sustainable cities and communities in which to live, work and invest,” he said.

“Without this, we risk developing technology-enabled cities and communities that people neither recognise or value.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin earlier this year proclaimed that a transport “revolution” would soon see driverless, electric vehicles slash air pollution, reduce the need for new roads and almost eliminate traffic accidents. 


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