Sheryl Connelly is looking at population trends.
Earth's population has hit 7 billion and will grow by 2050 to 9 billion. That means megacities of more than 10 million people will proliferate, and that raises questions about how people will live, work and - for Ford - move about. In Beijing today, they have 5-hour commutes. During the 2008 Olympics, they had 12 days of traffic gridlock. Our Traffic Jam Assist technology will drive your car for you in a jam while you relax. Later, cars will talk to each other to route around traffic. In 10 years they'll even talk to road infrastructure and drive in follow-the-leader style, jam-free platoons.
What other factors do you consider?
Well, populations are aging. And that has an effect on the community and on transport. One thing we're working on is engineering cars that are easy to drive at ever older ages. We do that using special suits that are designed to constrain our testers' dexterity to that of elderly people with restricted mobility.
Nextbigfuture - The overall global population increase is a factor but a more rapid shift is the changes from urbanization. People in the developing world are moving from rural areas to cities. The world urban population will reach 5 billion by 2030. This is up from about 3.5 billion now. The urban population is increasing at 1.8% per year.
ABI Research - Global driver assistance systems revenues are expected to grow from $22.7 Billion in 2012 to $460.8 Billion in 2017. Asia-Pacific will remain the leading ADAS market throughout the forecast period.
ABI Researchs new "Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)" market database provides detailed volume and value forecasts of all major driver assistance systems (Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning/Mitigation, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Monitoring System, Night Vision, and Adaptive Headlights) through 2020 for North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World.
ABI Research also had a study looking at traffic management solutions for megacities.
Nextbigfuture view of cities and automated driving
I think that changes in cities (particularly driven by the new urbanization in China) will be accelerating trends.
The factory mass produced skyscrapers of Broad Group of China will accelerate affordable urbanization. There will be more megacities and more mega-regions where several smaller cities have closer infrastructure connections. I think there will be more impact from the many hundreds of smaller cities than from the few top megacities.
Recent rumors from within Google suggest their driverless car could be commercialized and on the road in 3 to 5 years.
Brightsideofnews has coverage
Google's Driverless Car System (DCS) represents the integration of many services, turning your car into 'smartcar', just like the smartphone or tablet. With Google Voice, you have a globally-reachable free phone number. With Google Maps and Street View, you have potentially the best navigation out there. Google Glasses will sooner or later make way for Google HUD (Windscreen), which currently exists only on a drawing board and flexible OLED screens (years away from printable transparent OLED display on the inner side of automotive-grade windscreens.
Google selected a limited number of partners to work on the automotive black driving box.
Partners for the certifiable project are Intel with its Atom microprocessors, Samsung and ADATA with NAND Flash memory and several other manufacturers which shall remain nameless at this point in time. We also learned that the Driverless car system will utilize the CAN and MOST150 Ethernet protocols to communicate with a sensor array and the rest of the Class A, Class B and Class C subsystems.
Google will submit the boxes for NTSB and FIA/TUV certification in October or November timeframe, after which we can expect roughly 3-5 year design period before the first driverless cars reach the market. The companies closest to deploy the Driverless Car System (DCS) are Volkswagen Audi Group and Toyota
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