Top Five: TED Talks about how driverless cars will change the world

top five ted talks about how driverless cars will change the world
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In response to the changing demands of its audience, Automotive IQ concentrates on four core topics – Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE) – that dictate the future of the car.

The website has also pivoted to include more online events. The first of these – Autonomous Vehicles Online – examined the past, present and future of the autonomous vehicles industry. Our next event – Automotive Safety and Security Online – will take place on June 30 and July 1 and continues the examination of the Functional Safety side of the industry. It is completely free, and all the registration details are below:

But in addition to building our own library of online resources, sometimes it’s great to gain inspiration from other sources, which is why we’ve picked our Top Five car-related TED Talks to share with you:

#1 – Driverless Cars: breaking the fundamental rule of real estate – Paige Pitcher

An interesting take from urban planner, developer, and community advocate Paige Pitcher, delivered in 2017 on how everything that is currently known about real estate will change thanks to the autonomous revolution. This starts with addressing the fact that the United States has no fewer than two billion parking spots.

Taking the old real estate adage – Location, Location, Location – and reexamining it for the autonomous age, Pitcher uses her experience of running a startup company that conceived and executed affordable, mixed use, and transit oriented projects totaling over $80m. Her efforts have produced 500+ housing units designed to stabilize neighborhoods and transform lives.

#2 – What a driverless world could look like? – Wanis Kabbaj

A novel response to the question ‘What if traffic flowed through our streets as smoothly and efficiently as blood flows through our veins?’ Delivered by self-confessed transportation geek, Wanis Kabbaj, this talk, delivered in 2016, looks at taking inspiration in the genius of our biology to design the transit systems of the future.

Kabbaj explains his ‘ah-ha’ moment, when he realized that the solution to traffic challenges could be inside all of us, and moves on to talk about modular, detachable buses, flying taxis and networks of suspended magnetic pods that could help make the dream of a dynamic, driverless world a reality.

#3 – How a driverless car sees the road – Chris Urmson

Before he left Google’s self-driving car project – now called Waymo – to found Aurora, Chris Urmson talks through the search giant’s quest to replace the least reliable part of the car… the driver.

In this talk, delivered in Vancouver, Canada, in 2015, Urmson talks about where Google’s autonomous vehicle program was at that point, and shares some interesting footage of how Google was teaching its test vehicles to see. It would be interesting to see how this has changed in the past five years.

#4 – How will autonomous vehicles transform our cities? – Nico Larco

This 2018 TEDx talk by Nico Larco, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at University of Oregon and Director of the Urbanism Next Research Initiative, demonstrates how autonomy can transform cities for the better. Beginning with an illustration of how suburbanization was defined by the car, he looks at how switching to new, self-driving technologies will affect how cities are organized, how land is used and more.

#5 – Great cars are great art – Chris Bangle

A personal favorite, this 2002 talk by Chris Bangle, the US designer who was then the head of BMW Group design, explains his philosophy that car design is an art form in its own right.

While not strictly on the topic of driverless cars, the talk is an extremely enlightening one, particularly for those who work in engineering and perhaps don’t always connect with the emotional side of vehicle development.

The talk tells the entertaining story of the BMW Group’s Deep Blue project, intended to create a new generation of SUVs for the company.


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