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Birmingham's 2,400 Acre Driverless Car Dividend


The driverless car revolution could release more than 2,400 acres of land in Birmingham.

The use of driverless vehicles (sometimes called connected and autonomous vehicles, shorted to CAV) will allow the reclamation of a high proportion of land now lost to parking places and congestion could be cut, perhaps as much as 80%.

In Birmingham this reclamation process could yield more than 2,400 acres, Business Desk reported.

Earlier this year a similar analysis in 14 global cities suggested that as much as 15,000 acres could be reclaimed in London, New Civil Engineer reported.

In their latest report on autonomous mobility Arcadis said it is important for developers and civil leaders to prepare CAV-proof development and investment opportunities.

"CAV will have an impact on the buildings and infrastructure of cities. Looking
forward, all future investment decisions on transport infrastructure will need to be assessed through a CAV perspective. Incorporate CAV in the design of every infrastructure investment — from the design of mass-transit networks to the commissioning of changes to Traffic Management Systems and the number of city centre car parks," the report said.

"Consider how costs could be diverted from asset construction to contribute
to enhanced mobility solutions."

The U.K. government has pledged to have fully self-driving cars on U.K.
roads by 2021. With the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles working to make the U.K. a premier development location, the ongoing advancement of cutting edge technologies has the potential to propel the nation firmly to the forefront of transport innovation.

However, some experts have cast doubt on the government's ambition.

Sally Epstein, machine learning expert at Cambridge Consultants, has warned that full autonomy remains a long way off.

“The goal of autonomous vehicles in the U.K. by 2021 is hugely ambitious, but consumers should know that we’re nowhere near to having genuinely driverless cars on public roads," she said.

The challenges include the constant stream of roadworks and the ever-changing throng of street furniture which cannot be mapped easily.

"Mapping data will become out of date as soon as it is collected. Street furniture is constantly changing, with roadworks, accidents and more, while human movement in the same environment will remain stubbornly difficult to predict," Epstein said.