We should probably warn you. If you are anywhere near Somerville, a suburb of Boston, circa 2018, you may just see a driverless Audi park itself perfectly. Don’t freak out. It’s all part of the Urban Future Initiative, a subsidiary of Audi that focuses on creating solutions to urban commuting issues.
Talking to Wired magazine, Christian Gärtner, a designer who is part of the Initiative, said, “The car shaped the city in the 20th century, and in the 21st century the city will shape the car.” He and the others on his team are studying ways to handle the projected influx of vehicles in the world’s cities. Estimates see urban populations growing considerably and, with them, traffic congestion.
The self-parking vehicle is one solution that the Urban Future Initiative has come up with. The group is interfacing with others in Somerville to help try to make the area congestion-free. This includes a synced network of traffic lights and self-parking cars that autonomously park themselves in a garage specially designed for them.
Will they make a difference? This innovation is solution to a very real problem. An urban planning expert from UCLA found that 30% of traffic in a downtown area is simply people looking for parking. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?