Share on:

These technology trends are going to change your world, according to Silicon Valley experts

Our lives will be vastly different once these four technology trends come into play.

  • AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

    In the past year, autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, have been one of the industry’s hottest topics, with American companies including Uber and Waymo testing driverless vehicles. (Waymo is the self-driving car start-up spun off from Google.) Uber has started restricted passenger trials last September in Pittsburg and San Francisco three months after, while Waymo recently unveiled a fleet of self-driving minivans set for public road tests.

    In Singapore, start-up software company Nutonomy has been conducting trials of its self-driving taxis since last August, beating Uber’s timeline. When full autonomy does take off, this technology has the potential to dramatically change the transport landscape as we know it.

    “Autonomous vehicles running in fleets will completely change our experience in commuting. Some say the analogy is the shift from the horse-drawn carriage to the modern car,” says Karen Tay, the Smart Nation programme director in the Prime Minister’s Office. She’s based in Silicon Valley.

    “New design possibilities open up, when a steering wheel and front-facing seats are no longer necessary. Designers are having a field day working with autonomous vehicle start-ups and traditional manufacturers, reimagining the ‘car’. It can be a place to meditate, focus on work or even have wine with your friends on the way to a party.”

    Tay says fleets of autonomous vehicles in the sharing economy could shake up long held perceptions of car ownership. “When many different designs of vehicles are deployed in a fleet, you will be able to summon precisely the vehicle you want. In the morning, you could use a minivan to ferry your family to school and work; in the evening, you could summon a sleek, designer vehicle to take you to the company’s dinner function. On weekends, a jeep could take your family around the island for some R&R.

    “Today, owning a private car is the standard for luxury transportation. With fleets of autonomous vehicles providing the ultimate customisation in travel experience more efficiently and without the pains of parking, this paradigm will shift.”

    She adds: “We can also look forward to a future where these fleets are so tightly integrated with our public transportation that you can take multiple modes of transport in one journey – without having to wait while you transition between them.”

    (RELATED: Behind the self-driving cars on trial in Singapore.)

(RELATED: Why Singapore’s technopreneurs are flocking to Silicon Valley.)

ILLUSTRATION Diane Ng Rose, www.dianengrose.com