Something strange is happening in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The shadow of an emerging city creeps over the landscape, and by passers remain mystified by this unknown change, whose presence they can now feel. This shadow, this growing city over the landscape has been called -Mcity. Mcty is a place where transportation consists solely of robotic vehicles that steer themselves without a human at the wheel. This new innovation- driverless cars, must navigate several miles of the urban grid using a complex reliance on software, wireless communications, and sensor technology to get to and from their point of destination. Sounds impressive right? Well Mcity is just a simulation.
The buildings, as Urban Land Institute reports, “ are just facades, and the inhabitants unexpectedly step off curbs are just mechanized mannequins. Jonathan Levine, a University of Michigan professor of architecture and Urban Planning told the magazine “ You wouldn’t mistake it for a movie set, let alone a real city.” A new study introduced this year, relayed that the Boston Consulting Group, major automakers such as General motors are already rushing to add gadgetry that would give these cars an ability to pilot themselves on a low speed, stop and start traffic- jam conditions or in single lanes on highways, or even to find parking spaces and pull into them without human help.
This technology could really change the way we see our landscapes, in the same way that the urban street car or interstate highway was instrumental in developing the suburban and urban landscape in the US. “I think it’s going to be the most important transformational change in 100 years,” says Randall K. Rowe, chairman of Green Courte Partners, an Illinois-based private equity real estate investment firm. “It’s going to change the way we get around, the way we transport goods, and how we look at land use.”
Many experts in varying fields believe that driverless cars could start a revolution in the way we live. In a previous post, I mentioned some of the propositions for a walkable city. Well, not everyone is in full agreement with the Mcity model. Many worry about safety first, even though autonomous vehicle advocates point to Google’s experience, in which its experimental vehicles have travelled for 1.7 million miles on regular road, and a total of 11 minor accidents to its name. There are other debates on the table which present the argument that autonomous cars can free our roads of distracted drivers, and this in turn could make our cities even much more walkable.
Whether a city is walkable or driverless, it is important to remember that technological advancements in society have the ability to impact our landscape in a way that could potentially benefit or drive us out of our living spaces.
To learn more about MCity and the reimagination of a city without drivers, visit this article by Urban Land Institute