One of the greatest allures of self-driving cars is the prospect of never needing your own vehicle, you could just catch robotic rides whenever you want personal transportation. Well, Singapore is about to explore how well that concept works in practice. The city is opening up one of its neighborhoods to autonomous cars next year to see how well they could eliminate traffic congestion.
As driverless cars edge slowly toward commercial reality, some people are wondering how cities might change as a result. Will traffic lights disappear? Will parking garages become obsolete? Will carpooling become the norm? Singapore is keen to find out. The city-state will open one of its neighborhoods to driverless cars in 2015, with the idea that such vehicles could operate as a kind of jitney service, picking up passengers and taking them to trains or other modes of public transportation. The vehicles might be like golf carts, taking people short distances at low speeds, similar to the driverless vehicles demonstrated this year by Google (see “Lazy Humans Shaped Google’s New Autonomous Car”).