Singapore, at least as far as the future of cities is concerned. Officials there are expected to authorize an on-demand driverless taxi trial on public roads—a concept that could change the very nature of urban mobility, with shared autonomous vehicles operating as a sort of point-to-point transit system.
On paper, at least, the benefits of a shared autonomous cab system would be enormous for Singapore. Frazzoli and some collaborators recently estimated that a fleet of 300,000 robotaxis would be required to serve the city’s travel needs, assuming no one waited longer than 15 minutes during rush-hour. That’s less than half of the 780,000 passenger vehicles on the road in 2011, not to mention all the parking spots that could be converted into other uses.
“Instead of devoting that to storing metal and rubber, you can give it back to people and make parks or whatever else,” says Frazzoli. “If you can get rid of all the cars, you can actually get your city back.”