Are These the Self-Driving Cars of the Future?

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The self-driving car is still a little way off hitting the mainstream, but when it does it could change the way we travel around our cities. Design consultancy IDEO certainly thinks so, if these concepts are anything to go by.

As part of a future-gazing project to investigate automobility in the coming decades, IDEO has developed a series of concepts. It reckons we'll see three waves of transport innovation: cars with autonomy packs that allow us to relinquish control some of the time; fleets of autonomous delivery vehicles that mean items ship to us more easily than ever; and work pods, which allow us to get to places all over the city without ever leaving an office environment. Here's a run-down of their thinking.

Autonomous Cars

Are These the Self-Driving Cars of the Future?

"As we move from struggling with today's inefficient relationship between cars and infrastructure to one empowered by automobility, new capacities and better use of our existing resources will emerge. Daily commutes will improve in ways that allow us to accomplish so much more, making the slow seem fast. "

Self-Driving Delivery Trucks

Are These the Self-Driving Cars of the Future?

"As we look ahead, we see self-driving delivery trucks — we call them 21st-Century mules — delivering everything from your new jeans to a hot lunch, almost instantly. After receiving notification that "Cody" has arrived, you'll simply walk to the curb, do a biometric scan, and receive your package. No tips required."

The Office on Wheels

Are These the Self-Driving Cars of the Future?

"As confidence grows in autonomous ways of delivering goods and autonomous driving becomes more mainstream, a third stage of automobility will come into existence. It will involve inverse commutes, where working spaces come closer to where people live instead of commuters heading to pre-determined workplaces."

IDEO certainly thinks these ideas seems plausible. Would you like the future of city transport to look like this? [IDEO via Web Urbanist]