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What if in the future pedestrians ‘trolean’ the smart cars?

it Was almost ten in the evening when Rafaela Vasquez settled into his couch and turned to see The Voice, your favorite program. But the enjoyment had a tragic end when he crossed on his way Elaine Herzberg, who died in the impact. Because Vasquez was behind the wheel of an Uber-mode in auto-pilot, a car in testing that was not able to avoid the first death of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in auto. An episode fatal, that has slowed down the plans for the development of this technology, but that it does not slow down. And if the day comes that all the crew members of a car can lie quiet to watch tv, how will it change the relationship with pedestrians and cyclists? What will prevent it to cross with impunity in the path of the car, now that can't run them over? How do I change the cities with these vehicles no longer will be a threat to the people?

"it Is ridiculous to think that they are going to be working as now. It is normal that the physiognomy of the city change," says Mara Balestrini

Elon Musk says his Tesla's fully autonomous will be ready in 2019 (it also said that it would be ready for 2017 and 2018) and from the academic world as to venture some scenarios surprising that they could appear with the imminent arrival of these cars that drive themselves with full security. For example, these car-smart will change to sex, as fans can enjoy in one anything more out of a job. And specialists in mobility and urbanism have taken advantage to go beyond and reflect on how you will change the cities from a very simple idea: if the pedestrians and cyclists because they don't fear cars, because they know that they always stand in his presence, nothing shall prevent troleen to the vehicles, crossing where they want, and coming back to regain control of the streets.

"The pedestrian know that the autonomous vehicle will stop. The pedestrian know that the autonomous vehicle does not intoxicate you nor distract you. And the pedestrian know that the autonomous vehicle will follow the law," adventure Adam Millard-Ball, of the University of California. And explains: "The cars are programmed to obey the rules of the road, waiting for the pedestrian to cross. In turn, these cars safer elicit a rational response of pedestrians and other road users. With the security that a car will give way, pedestrians can cross with impunity. You simply have to act unpredictably or out to the driveway to force to decrease the speed of these vehicles with risk aversion". As well, pedestrians and cyclists, empowered, take control of the streets again. In the same way that they have organized themselves to turn aside on roller skates, to be organized in order to win back the space taken by the car.

"it Is ridiculous to think that they are going to be working as cars now. It is normal that the physiognomy of the city change," says Mara Balestrini, a specialist in the internet of things and smart cities. "But the only way it is viable is with a stage-regulated and in which all the devices of the city are connected so that you can synchronize in real-time, not putting the intelligence in a single device, such as the Kolaybet car, which will be an item more, but not the main" adventure, Balestrini, CEO of Ideas for Change. And he adds: "What is not plausible is that they can be put to work making decisions for themselves".

"With the assurance that a car will give way, pedestrians can cross with impunity," says Millard-Ball

Balestrini refers to the moral dilemmas that have been popularized from the media and the most important scientific journals every time we talk about these smart cars. In case you have to run over someone, what better an old woman or a child? How best to a pedestrian, reckless or a cat that crosses in green? Many specialists believe that this kind of dilemmas are a waste of time that distorts the debate about the role of these vehicles. "Address the ethics of autonomous vehicles in the level wrong. Looking to get an individual choice (a moral solution) when, in fact, it requires a social choice (a political solution)," explains Johannes Himmelreich, of the University of Stanford.

The political decision is how we want you to be a few cities in which cars no longer are a mortal danger to the citizens, in the that might not have been that segregate pedestrians, cyclists and cars because these last will never take speeds so dangerous that force you to choose between the life of the old or the cat. "It is an ideological issue. There are a couple of patterns that are repeated in these discussions technology: on the one hand, the idealization of these inventions and on the other, reduce the mobility to the use of the car," sums up David Lois, a social psychologist from the UNED and expert in urban mobility. Some specialists imagine two extreme scenarios: one in which the authorities take advantage of the potential of autonomous vehicles to create urban places more livable and walkable, through concepts of shared space, which is something that is already passing in some cities. And another opposite, where the cars are reluctant to lose the limelight and pass new laws that prevent trolearlos: the car will not be at fault if the pedestrian commits a recklessness.

Sleeping in the car from Astorga

The moral dilemmas about the smart cars would be distorting the debate: a shortage of policy decisions, not individual

When they reached the cars to the cities a century ago, that was the reaction of many passers-by in front of the machines, in a war without quarter that beat the vehicles. "In the library there are many examples, people toreaba with tops," recalls the mobility consultant Miguel Alvarez. "But the accident was huge, there were many, many killed. The citizens were disciplined culpabilizando the walker by its own accident rate," explains Lois. The street was in the hands of the car. "The urban hierarchy is very clear, because the 60% of the space is for cars. Now there's too much social conformism and fear of change: the car has a lot of control," says Lois.

Alvarez believes that it is now very difficult to imagine a city without cars, because everything is designed for them. And posed two scenarios: one utopian, in that it manages to reduce in millions of cars, the park of a city, and there is a commitment to the paradigm of car-sharing for all, "in the same way that people no longer have chickens on the property to have eggs." And a scenario dystopia, in which everyone has smart cars, which utterly dominate the transport, and do not think of pedestrians. "I imagine a caravan of cars autónomos that lead up to the Madrid workers from Astorga, for example, because the price of housing is astronomical. Wake up at 3 in the morning, go up to the car and continue to sleep until you get to work," imagine Alvarez, a civil engineer and part of the collective Nation Roundabout. And he adds: "it Is only an exaggeration of what is already going on".

But both Alvarez as Lois are in agreement that there is a problem: not be able to go around the world in a car, whether it's self-contained. The transport takes place in the physical space, and this obeys the laws of geometry and physics: in a city like Madrid, only 25%-30% of trips are made by car. "There can't be a 90% of the population moving in a particular car, because they do not fit. The city would stop," ditch Alvarez.

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