Cape Town - Whether its robotic construction workers or self-driving cars, the future of motoring seems to be headed towards autonomous vehicles and systems.
The pace at which the automotive industry is changing is alarming. During the last five years, the auto industry has seen tremendous strides made towards autonomous technology.
May automakers are testing self-driving vehicles becoming pioneers of a new chapter in motoring - the driverless era.
Adapting road signs
As with any technology, many systems, including road rules, will need to adapt to accommodate the shift towards autonomous cars, not the least of which will be road signs. Autonomous cars for instance will require road rules to be reviewed especially in cases of liability. Motorists and pedestrians will need to be made aware of self-driving cars sharing the roads.
Tesla is at the forefront of autonomous vehicles having already rolled out its Model S equipped with a self-driving mode. Earlier in July, China tested its new public transport system; a huge electric bus capable of carrying up to 300 passengers while "straddling" traffic.
Current road signs will need to be altered to accommodate these vehicles.
Carkeys has compiled a list a road signs that could find their way to the real world in the not too distant future.
This bus is awesome. Why should passenger cars and buses have to wrestle for space on the road when there is so much space 'above'. Stay with us here...
The new electric Straddle bus hints at what the future of public transport could be. The Straddle bus rides above lanes on the road and with a gigantic, open underbelly allows for other vehicles to drive beneath it.
This electric concept could potentially replace 40 conventional buses as it is capable of transporting up to 300 passengers.
Though only one of these buses were made so far, further tests and research will determine whether it will ever head into mass production. When it does, expect road signs to follow.
Click on the gif below to view to the story:
2 Electric e-Charging Lane
With Tesla's electric cars finding favour among a global audience, automakers and technology companies are searching for quick-charge solutions. One of these concepts is the implementation of electric e-Charging lanes.
An e-Charging Lane is currently undergoing testing and could be implemented within the next eight to ten years.
How it works
Motorists driving a battery-powered car would be directed to an e-charging lane where their vehicles can recharged on the go. This could potentially eliminate the current system of extended (read: hours) charging periods.
Need to spend hours recharging your EV at your home/office? Not anymore!
3 Robots at Work
As autonomous systems are rolled-out, robots will continue to replace human workers.
In the not-to-distant future, we could see robotic road workers on our streets. Imagine, instead of seeing the conventional picture of a stick-figure shoveling dirt (or is it man struggling to open an umbrella?), you're presented with a ‘Robots at Work’ road sign depicting a large mechanical arm or android.
When will this be implemented is anyone's guess but at the rate at which things are changing, a sign like this should be one of the first rolled-out in the future.
4 Autonomous Car Lane
The mass transition from 'human-driven' cars to robotic pilots is not going to happen overnight, though autonomous cars may soon have their own lanes on our roads.
What about self-driving car crashes? What if a pedestrian is hit? Autonomous technology is still in its infancy and as result there are still real-world scenarios that need to be considered.
If fully-autonomous cars should share the road with other vehicles, it poses many safety concerns.
A separate lane for autonomous cars will no doubt help reduce the potential for human/computer error until the legal and safety issues are resolved.
The US, Europe and Asia should be the first to implement this sign (or something similar), with the rest of the world to follow suit.
5 Auto Hyperloop Station
This idea by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has the potential to revolutionise long-distance travel.
The Hyperloop concept sees the deployment of fast, battery-powered trains as an alternative for long-haul travellers. Drivers can turn off the highway, park their cars within the train, arrive at their chosen destination and simply drive off.
It's potentially a stress-free way of traveling as it would 1) reduce traffic congestion and 2) see a drop in road deaths.
The Hyperloop station could feature near major highways as well as stations. The hyperloop currently undergoing development though no word yet as when it will be built.