Driverless cars will be commonplace within five years in controlled environments – and on our roads in 15 years. That was the prediction of EC commissioner for mobility and transport Violeta Bulc as the 22nd ITS World Congress opened yesterday in Bordeaux.
“I think in ports, airports and campuses we’ll see them emerging in four to five years,” she said. Among the main reasons it will take another decade after that for autonomous vehicles to come into everyday usage on Europe’s roads is the large sums of money involved in creating smart environments.
“We need to look at the depreciation cycles of infrastructure,” she went on. “These are about 10-15 years.” Bulc pointed to a €7.5 billion funding package for innovation in transport and ITS which is due be approved by the EU - but added that companies in the field would also have a key role in facilitating adoption of the technology.
“Private investors speed up the dynamics of implementation,” she continued. As well as funding intelligent infrastructure, issues such as standards, data privacy and security also need to be ironed out. “We’re inviting the industry to come on board. If we have the customers in mind, we will reach an agreement.” Bulc was speaking at a press conference to mark the opening of the Congress: mobility as a service and climate change are among the main issues to be discussed at this week’s event, whose theme is ‘Towards Intelligent Mobility – Better Use of Space.’ More than 10,000 people are expected to attend, including 3,500 delegates and 450 exhibitors.