Driverless cars are coming fast. That could be a big upgrade to life in America—or a complete nightmare, if we don’t quickly take control of the situation
From my cover story in the Dec. 14, 2018, issue of Newsweek.
At the dawn of the 20th century, the automobile was heralded as a way to free cities from the scourge of horse manure. Cars delivered on that promise, and they made us a far more mobile society. But they also stuck us with a slew of pervasive problems that haunt us today: urban blight, suburban sprawl, congestion, a rich-poor divide, a health-crushing lack of physical activity and enough pollution to upend the Earth’s climate.
Most U.S. cities seem positioned to once again allow technology to overwhelm them. New York City, for example, currently has no testing program in place for driverless cars—General Motors was planning one for 2019 but canceled it when the City Council raised concerns about safety. Singapore, some European countries and China are taking steps to prepare for AVs, but not one major U.S. city has introduced new traffic or development laws intended to boost AVs or push drivers to use them. If cities don’t get their development acts together soon, driverless vehicles will likely make traffic far worse in the coming years….Read more