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2018, 53rd Competition ThemeLife, Towns, and Architecture, as Transformed by Autonomous Driving

The development of self-driving vehicles has progressed rapidly, together with advances in artificial intelligence. Although different autonomous driving standards remain under review, “Level 3” systems, which can perform acceleration, steering, and braking and require human intervention only when prompted by the systems, are expected to go on sale in 2018; “Level 5” systems, which can perform all driving tasks under all conditions and require no responses to system requests, will likely be realized in the not too distant future.

How will the appearance of entirely autonomous vehicles change our life, towns, and architecture?

Autonomous vehicles will run in an orderly manner, reducing the need for multi-lane roads and parking spaces. This in turn will expand pedestrians spaces and generate new places in towns.

As for effects on people's life and communities, autonomous driving will facilitate transportation of goods and people in suburban housing complexes and areas with large elderly populations. One can imagine that the automation of public transit systems – buses, BRT (bus rapid transit) systems, and so on – will profoundly effect the nature of communities. Ride sharing in cars might also increase. If ultra high-speed passenger trains are established, not only will they connect faraway cities, they will also link up tightly knit networks of autonomous vehicles.

Car designs will be significantly affected by these changes. Since drivers will no longer be necessary, a mere means of transportation will become a new type of space – a “third space” that is neither home nor office, that can be used by men and women of all ages. Buses, too, may be reimagined as new public spaces.

It is conceivable that all facets of our life, towns, and archtiecture will be changed as a result of autonomous driving. With this in mind, we are asking for proposals presenting forms of the future, as changed by autonomous driving. Proposals addressing total environments in their treatment of “Life, Towns, and Architecture” are of course acceptable; so too are those focusing on life at a more intimate scale and those at the scale of architectureo r towns. Automobile design proposals are also welcome. Please delve deep into your imagination and propose specific images of life, towns, and architecture as transformed by autonomous driving.

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