"It's a bug," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "that cars were invented before computers." So Ingels reimagines city streets and highways crowded with tight-packed, auto-piloted cars, taking up one-quarter of the road space and allowing for precision guidance alongside people and other vehicles -- all of which would together reboot the city's streets as vibrant public spaces. A smart transport grid, in essence, in parallel with the rise of smart energy grids. — Chris Turner, Mother Nature Network
In BIG's competition, entry for Audi's AUDI Urban Future Award, they call for a future city where driverless cars give the streets more plasticity by removing the need for barriers and other concrete-like features by utilizing the relatively new concept of swarm theory. Objects, from people to trees to other cars, interact with one another to relay the best possible path.
BIG hypothesizes that speed increases the necessary surface area a car occupies and remedying that with cars precisely controlled in compact clusters. It also addresses the possibility of eliminating many of the traffic control devices such as stoplights and interchanges as traffic can be instantly reorganized to flow through intersections without stopping.
In addition to traffic control and the reduction of fatalities cause by automobiles, BIG points out that a big accommodation made by the public with regards to automobiles is the widening of roadways to lessen the burden faced by noise pollution. Busier [and noisier] streets require larger shoulders and right-of-ways to minimize noise. BIG proposes that a switch to electric cars will allow them to operate in denser narrow streets without generating excessive amounts of noise.
To see BIG's entire proposal, you can visit their website here or on the Audi website. Bjarke Ingels also gave a TED speech on this subject. BIG and Bjarke Ingels will be presenting the project on May 7-9th during 'THE FESTIVAL OF IDEAS FOR THE NEW CITY' at the Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry Street, New York, New York.