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Talking cars and recharging from the road: how technology will change driving

Cars that talk to each other, roads that charge your electric car themselves, and other inventions can permanently change the transport infrastructure of the city and our management experience, writes Air force.

Photo: Shutterstock

What the city of the future will look like, we present quite well on the covers of sci-fi books and movies: shiny skyscrapers and personal spaceships plowing the space above a complex network of gray-green pneumatic tubes.

Unfortunately, jetpacks have not yet become a reality. However, many equally fantastic technologies in the near future will radically change the movement through the streets of the city.

1. Cars that can talk

No, this is not about the Siri built into your Subaru. We're talking about the ability of cars to communicate with each other - the so-called Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) concept.

The US Department of Transportation has recently developed standard rules for the exchange of information between cars: their location, direction and speed.

The purpose of the innovation is to warn drivers (and subsequently computers of autonomous cars) about potentially dangerous situations on the roads.

On city streets, where traffic accidents most often occur at intersections, cars will decide on their own whether you have enough time to complete the right turn into the red light, and what the four-way interchange will be like.

2. Cars talking to traffic lights

The second element of the road communication system will be “communication” between the car and the elements of the road infrastructure (Vehicle to Infrastructure, or V2I).

Fire trucks are already using various technologies to switch traffic lights from red to green during emergency exits. But V2I will work in a more comprehensive way - this system will make urban traffic more efficient by using data from cars on the roads.

Smart infrastructure will be able to delay the switching of traffic lights from green to red if necessary, if more cars are moving in that direction.

She will be able to change speed modes and regulate access roads, as well as let traffic go around traffic accident places and traffic jams.

And when autonomous cars appear on the market, the whole city will turn into one smart car.

3. The ban on certain types of engines

Diesel engines are powerful and economical. But soon diesel transport will be used exclusively in rural areas, and it will not be possible to drive such a car, for example, to the capital of France.

By 2025, the authorities of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens intend to ban diesel cars as part of a program to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

Cities around the world can join this initiative. Oslo and Bergen, Norway's two largest cities, are planning to ban petrol-powered cars from entering the city center by that time.

Therefore, if unsuccessfully parked mail vans still bother you on the streets of the city, they will at least be compact, environmentally friendly and produce much less noise.

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4. Charging while riding

If all city cars become electric, it is logical to assume that they will require many charging points.

It is possible that the usual parking meters (and with them - flower beds and street cafes) will give way to clumsy structures with a bunch of wires designed to power our electric vehicles.

Although in fact, large infrastructure changes are optional. We will be able to charge the car during stops at the traffic lights or just at parking lots.

The idea of ​​remote charging, at first glance, looks rather fantastic, but over the past decade, scientists have already learned how to transmit electricity contactlessly at a distance of two meters with almost one hundred percent efficiency.

A device called a "resonant transformer" consists of windings in the road surface that resonate with the windings in electric cars and cause them to vibrate, which in turn is converted into electricity to charge car batteries.

Urban transport administrations around the world are already testing such a system on buses that charge contactlessly at bus stops. This technology is easy enough to implement in new multi-level parking lots. Transformer windings can be embedded in asphalt at intersections.

How drivers will pay for recharging is already a question for the company, which is to develop an appropriate program for smartphones.

5. New taxes for drivers

The future is already here, but you have to pay for it. For example, if you want to ride in the city center at rush hour. But everything is fair: the law of supply and demand will apply to other traffic rules.

This system has been used in Singapore since 1975, but now other cities, from London to Riga, are beginning to use it to relieve the streets.

And since we will soon be driving smart cars that talk to smart infrastructure, there is nothing stopping us from making some of that infrastructure responsible for tolls.

Instead of a real gasoline tax, drivers will start paying for mileage. In certain places and at certain times, rates will be increased.

Large cars (limousines or SUVs) may have to pay more to enter the city center (for example, as now the increased tariffs apply to three-axle trucks).

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6. Restrictions on private transport in the city

Many large cities already have dedicated parking lots for suburban workers who park their cars and take the train or subway to the city center.

While this scheme works great on weekdays, it is not as convenient for short trips or on weekends when trains are shorter and the intervals are longer.

Several cities are redefining this concept, transforming parking spots on the outskirts of the city into true transportation hubs with a wide range of services.

The infrastructure of a smart city will allow you to get to a certain stop in the center, where you can change to a minibus (for example, you can order it using a smartphone app), get to the nearest trolleybus stop, a bicycle rental point or ... the same pneumatic pipe network.

Although, perhaps, the color of these pipes will be brighter than we expected.

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