The future is now. An idea that only a couple of years ago would have found its place in the realm of science fiction, driverless cars are becoming a reality.
We are almost there when it comes to autonomous vehicles; each new car model is continuously increasing its technological firepower. The computing capabilities that are being implemented in cars is exponential. From Cruise control, to emergency braking, to the ability for a car to park handsfree.
Indeed, the ability for a car to auto-park has been the precursor to the latest in automotive science. Vehicle autonomy is inevitable. The technology behind it is an exciting prospect, and may become one of the most important advances into artificial intelligence.
This does, however, pose a multitude of questions on the future of parking. Perhaps the most crucial is this; will there be any point to it? The way things are going, maybe not.
Autonomous cars could mean continuous service; as a proponent of the sharing economy, a self-driving car could pick up, drop off, and transit indefinitely, stopping only for fuel and repairs. This is a far cry to the total usage of a driven car, which spends 95% of its time parked. This eventuality sounds entirely plausible. However, it completely disregards an important facet of human emotion; personal preference.
The assumption has been made that everyone will give up their cars. Really? You would be hard pressed to find a self confessed petrolhead giving up their vintage DB9 in order to be chauffeured for the rest of days.
This doesn’t only extend to devout car owners. The ability to drive is one of the most important skills in life, a skill that took time and effort, as well as a sense of achievement. Not just that, but ultimately, people like driving. To say that parking will become obsolete cannot come to pass simply because with people, there is no black and white. There will always be someone who’ll want to go for a spin behind the wheel.
Furthermore, Autonomous cars will have to park at some point. Yes, they’ll be more efficient than your usual, stationary car, but what happens at non-peak hours? Will every car still be out on the roads at 4am? During these times it would be a waste of energy and space for a car to be idly roaming the streets.
Self-driving cars will become an everyday part of life, and their implementation will come to reduce the need to park. However, the car park will live on for both man and bot; a constant in an ever changing worldThe Future of Parking; What Happens When We Stop Driving?