Daimler futurist sees driverless vehicles as the end of car sharing

09 May 2017

09 May 2017 Alexander Mankowsky, a futurist at Daimler Research & Development, said at the Re:publica internet conference on Monday that car sharing, which is mainly popular in large cities, is ′contemporary’ and will no longer exist in 10-15 years. Autonomous vehicles are essentially expected to render car sharing redundant. Mankowsky outlined concepts and challenges in designing the interaction between automated vehicles and people, saying car manufacturers have to find ways to make people understand how autonomous vehicles behave in different situations. He said ′Mobility works at a pre-determined level. We do not figure out in advance how something will behave, which happens by itself – through empathy.’ As one solution, Mankowsky showed how, using a front-mounted light display, vehicles could signal to pedestrians that they had been seen. In another concept, the car body shakes to signal to the pedestrian that he can cross the road, in the same way that drivers communicate this through waving. Mankowsky said autonomous vehicles would have to fit in so that the traffic could continue to flow. Mankowsky believes that the proliferation of autonomous cars will be gradual and sees driverless taxis and motorway pilots as the first possible applications. This dovetails with Daimler’s recently announced plans, in collaboration with Bosch, to develop the technology for a self-driving taxi service to be launched in 2020. Mankowsky also sees the potential for automated minibuses in cities but noted that ′automated vehicles are also still relatively expensive.’ The concepts introduced by Mankowsky coincide with Ford’s development of autonomous technology that reads the body language of drivers. Photograph courtesy of Daimler

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