The Coalition for Future Mobility, a group that’s been lobbying the US government to approve self-driving cars for public road usage, has recently signed on four new members. The group, which mainly consists of automakers, ride-sharing companies, and tech companies, introduced one new member that stood out from the rest: the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
According to an article by Quartz, Jeff Solsby, who is a spokesman for the wholesalers organization, noted that the trade group joined the Coalition for Future Mobility in order to combat impaired driving by furthering the efforts of getting self-driving cars on the roads. He states that about 20,000 of the 74,000 employees that work for the wholesalers belonging to the group are drivers whose “livelihoods depend on safe roads”.
What that quote doesn’t note is that these drivers might be put out of a job if self-driving cars become more commonplace. The moment autonomous vehicles take over, that puts a lot of delivery positions out of work. With over 3.5 million truck drivers in the USA, a lot of them could see their jobs disappearing because of autonomous vehicles.
Driverless trucks are also expected to become mainstream before driverless cars due to the fact that highway driving is an easier problem to tackle than city navigation.
The future’s looking very different at the moment, and with the inclusion of groups like the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America coming on board for initiatives like self-driving cars, it’s only a matter of time before other organizations start to actively participate.
New forms of renewable energy like smart grids, energy storage, and flexible wind turbines are making renewables cheaper and more accessible. According to Renewables Grid Initiative and WindEurope, electricity infrastructure has to be extended in a smart way if they want to meet the European Union’s target of sourcing 35% of its energy from renewables by 2030.
Renewable energy companies and grid operators have to work a lot more closely together if they want to achieve these numbers. One of the main things that should be prioritized is electricity grids, which should be a focal point compared to gas grids, especially when it comes to money allocation. The software used to run power grids also has to be upgraded so that wind turbines can be toggled on and off whenever they’re needed.
One of our main takeaways is that governments have to be more transparent about their goals on how much renewable energy they plan to deploy after 2020 as part of their National Energy & Climate Plans. This will offer a lot more clarity for grid operators over infrastructure projects. An important step to establishing a strong framework for smart cities is transparency. When the community and citizens are provided the information needed to take action, there is great chance of them being proactive in creating change. This is something sorely needed from most government entities who are talking about smart cities and sustainability.
Smart grids seem to be an excellent approach to making our energy generation more efficient and clean, but how long do you think it’ll take before this form of energy becomes more commonplace? Places like Norway are already utilizing hydro-electricity to generate most of their power (about 98% of their power is generated through hydroelectricity). When will other countries begin to implement more renewable energy infrastructures? What is your city doing to kick things off?