Wednesday, 5 March 2014

'Designing a Driverless World'

It was a pleasure to be invited by Arup to participate in the 'Designing a Driverless World' workshop down in San Francisco on Feb 6, 2014.

The hosts, Arup, are a consulting engineering company that I had the pleasure to work for in both the Republic of Ireland in England, for four years in the not so distant past.  Arup are a really interesting company that remain privately owned, despite being big enough to compete with anyone for the design of major infrastructure projects.  They also invest a significant sum in research and development and have their own Foresight, Research and Innovation people. In my personal opinion you might consider them the Cadillac, or Rolls Royce (depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on) of Consulting Engineers.

So it was a pleasure to spend time with my fellow consulting engineers, transportation planners, urban planners, transit operators, developers, architects etc. that really seemed to have a rapidly growing awareness of what is coming with automated vehicle deployment.  Many of the panellists and presenters obviously had a much better grasp of some of the intricacies of the subject, including Google and Qualcomm representatives amongst others.

You will see from the Arup write-up of the day that the discussions were lively, varied and included the occasional good-natured disagreement as you would expect with such varied perspectives of what the future may hold.

Of one thing I am certain, 'Designing a Driverless World' will be different to how we are designing now.