As we steam toward a future with self-driving cars, electric vehicles charging stations as common as gas stations, buses that straddle cars and complete robot autonomy, it seems pertinent to start reimagining some of our road signs.
To have some fun, Car Keys — an online car dealership of sorts — sat down to imagine what these future road signs might look like. What it came up with is a fascinating glimpse into a future that might be closer than most of us imagine.
Autonomous car lanes
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
As we transition toward fully autonomous vehicles, we’re going to to undergo a period of change that sees human drivers sharing the road with their artificially intelligent successors. As such, it’s plausible that governments will attempt to keep the two separated as much as possible on our roadways.
A separate lane would undoubtedly ease friction between the two as we begin the slow process of phasing out human drivers.
Electric car e-charging lane
Elon Musk might be a genius when it comes to making everyone want an electric car, but the 3-4 hour charge time is a lot less sexy than the 0-to-60.
Instead of plugging in overnight to a standard three-plug charger, engineers are currently working on building entire stretches of road that can charge your electric vehicle while you drive. In essence, it’s a pit lane for your vehicle, only you don’t have to stop to use it. Simply slow down, drive over it and take off with a freshly charged battery.
If it happens, it’ll of course need a sign to delineate these lanes from your standard ones — or from parking spaces.
Robots at work
Robots will take our jobs. It might not happen soon, but advances in artificial intelligence will necessitate the move to automation at some point in the future. Don’t worry, the shift will probably create just as many jobs as it costs.
When robots start fixing our roads, however, the classic red-on-white sign featuring a man with a shovel is no longer going to cut it. These aren’t men at work, after all, they’re robots; show some respect.
Aside from self-driving and/or electric vehicles, we’re on the precipice of some massive shifts in the way we ferry humans.
Hyperloop One is only a few years from its goal of shuttling passengers at speeds in excess of 700 mph, China is testing elevated buses capable of driving over cars, rather than around them and Airbus wants to create autonomous drone taxis that look like miniature blimps.
We don’t know exactly what it looks like just yet, but we do know that personal vehicles aren’t the only ones on the verge of a major overhaul; it’s coming to public transport too.