Thanks to new software capabilities, self-driving vehicles are poised to dominate the roads of the future, and Wanis Kabbaj's talk on transit systems attempts to imagine how such a shift could impact urban infrastructure.
Human drivers are inherently flawed, and as such, the roads have had to hold fast to certain fundamental rules in order to prevent mass mayhem. However, these rules and structures have led to increases in traffic and congestion as cities have grown in population. For Kabbaj, this problem is a matter of arteries getting clogged, and he envisions and equally biological solution.
With driverless cars, many people could use the same car in the same way that one blood cell can deliver many packets of oxygen to many different organs around the body. In such an urban system, most or all of the cars would be public vehicles that would drive themselves on the most efficient route to pick up passengers and bring them to their destinations.