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October 31st, 2014

No more road rage: How smart cities and driverless cars make life better for everyone

Driverless cars, delivery drones and smart buildings: they all seem like things you’d see in a sci-fi movie. But all those futuristic developments could soon roll onto American roadways, and many Americans overwhelmingly support the changes.

According to the “Intel Freeway to the Future” study conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, when asked if they would like to live in a driverless city, where all cars, buses and trains operate intelligently and automatically without people driving them, more than a third of American respondents (44 percent) approved. What’s more, a third of respondents expect to see a driverless city in 10 years or less.

They could be right. The U.S. Department of transportation is developing technology that allows cars to “talk” to each other – dubbed vehicle-to-vehicle communication or V2V. Using this technology, vehicles may share critical data such as speed and position on the road. On-board computers share this safety information 10 times a second so vehicles can travel more efficiently and with fewer accidents. It’s important to note that V2V technology doesn’t take over braking or steering for drivers, but rather provides them with warnings so they can take action to avoid collisions.

V2V technology is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how technology can enhance transportation and quality of life in the United States. Research and development on driverless cars, drones for public services and smart buildings are underway, making the lifestyle of “The Jetsons” closer to a reality every day.

Americans support a driverless society

The Intel study found that, on average, half of Americans desire a driverless society, support public service drones, or want cities to invest in smart infrastructures that use non-personal data from cars and buildings to improve quality of life in their community.

When asked how automated transportation could affect their cities or towns, Americans mentioned reductions in the number of traffic incidents (40 percent), traffic levels (38 percent) and the amount of carbon emissions (34 percent).

Public services and drones

Drones are another technology that’s getting a lot of attention – and not just for military purposes. Opportunities exist for unmanned drones to support law enforcement, public safety, firefighting and fire prevention, and ambulance and emergency response. Nearly six in 10 respondents from the survey believe drones are a smart and sensible way to improve public services.

Research on drone usage at the community level is alive and well. For example, Intel researchers are exploring technologies such as advancements in robotics and drones that would benefit public services by freeing up critical and often limited manpower to focus on important tasks, while improving overall safety for citizens in need.

Personal privacy and smart cities

In addition to driverless cars and drones, smart city technologies are another aspect of an evolving intelligent society. What is a smart city? Technology on buildings, buses and other physical surroundings gathers anonymous information about what people do and uses it to improve the community.

Sixty percent of respondents from the Intel study had initial concerns about privacy of smart cities, but when specific benefits were cited – such as reducing water and energy consumption, reducing city costs and improving air quality – 61 percent of respondents said a smart city would be worthwhile.

Development of smart cities is already underway in communities throughout the world. In Portland, Ore., for example, Intel is working with the local community to get air quality data to help understand pollution risks in real time.

From intelligent transportation to drone-assisted public services, it appears the future will make use of technology to better citizens’ lives. For more information visit www.intel.com/newsroom/innovation.


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