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Ghost Road, Autonomous Vehicles Myths, & The Future — Cleantech Talk With Anthony Townsend

In the second half of this episode of our Cleantech Talk podcast interview series, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, and Anthony Townsend, author of GHOST ROAD: Beyond the Driverless Car, sit down to talk about autonomous vehicles and urban planning.

In the second half of this episode of our Cleantech Talk podcast interview series, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, and Anthony Townsend, author of GHOST ROAD: Beyond the Driverless Car, sit down to talk about autonomous vehicles and urban planning. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded Soundcloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

You can subscribe and listen to CleanTech Talk on: AnchorApple Podcasts/iTunesBreakerGoogle PodcastsOvercastPocketPodbeanRadio PublicSoundCloudSpotifyStitcher, or via the embedded SoundCloud player above.

Mike and Anthony launch into the second half of this interview by discussing implications for commercial real estate and transformation into a low-carbon economy. They talk about retail stores and distribution centers and the ways in which autonomous vehicle technology will change the ways in which communities are structured. Anthony believes there is a lot of potential in on-demand e-commerce innovation. Both Mike and Anthony talk about delivery and how different industries might be able to harness this technology, exploring trends where this technology is already being deployed and where patterns of autonomous vehicle usage are emerging.

Mike and Anthony also talk about implications for different industries and what can be exciting for communities and their distribution systems. Anthony expresses his excitement about where the US could be headed when the full force of automation kicks in. He asks: what would it be like if it was as cheap to send something as it was to send a text message?

Mike dives into how communities are already integrating autonomous vehicle technology and the ways in which these patterns have emerged around the world. Mike and Anthony also discuss flying drones versus road and sidewalk drones and what might be more widely adopted. Anthony explains the ways in which drones might shape the makeup of streets and change traffic rules and the way in which we imagine law enforcement. There are also many ways cities might leverage deployment of drones to distribute resources to people in times of crisis or satisfy whatever needs might be in the public interest, he notes.

The two also explore the urban infrastructure that might need to be created or changed in order to support this evolution of vehicles. To wrap the second half of this episode up, Mike and Anthony briefly explore the ways in which automation allows us to navigate challenges such as COVID-19, where contactless delivery becomes an appealing solution and robots reduce the amount of human mingling. They close on a positive note, with Anthony explaining his favorite insight from his book: the opportunity to reinvent buses. To hear more on these topics, listen to the show!


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Written By

Winter is a Cutler Scholar and undergraduate student double majoring in Environmental Studies and Journalism at Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, with a minor in French. Her academic interests include environmental communication, technology and social innovation, especially as they relate to international climate change mitigation and adaptation. Though Winter attends school in her hometown of Athens, Ohio, she takes advantage of her breaks to explore the world beyond. She spent her most recent break undertaking self-driven research on climate change and environmental justice in Southeast Asia. This year, she will be completing her dual thesis and supplementary documentary series on climate change communication. Winter is excited to contribute to and work with the team at CleanTechnica as a Summer Editorial Intern.

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