driverless vehicles

In 2015, while studying a Master of Art and UNSW, Colin Polwarth completed ~ 30 paintings, 20 watercolours and 10 oil paintings with a supporting abstract and semiotic schedule for a driverless vehicle environment.

Royal College of Art

Colin decided to further his interdisciplinary research into driverless vehicles at the Royal College of Art (RCA). An abstract of the research is available on Initial research focused on the scope, philosophical and theoretical approach for the project including the deep relationship both intellectual and physical between humans, language, cities and vehicles.

Road signs + conventions

Colin’s research is investigating the historic evolution of signs and road technology, vehicles and the city, the international research reviews Sydney, London, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, New Delhi and Hong Kong. This included a taxonomy of road technology from 1800- contemporary times.

Systematic investigation

The research includes a systematic investigation of the evolution between vehicle design and the environment. The focus is the manner in which the design of vehicles urban design and architecture (our cities)evolved an intertwined functional and aesthetic response.

Ongoing research

The project will research the influence of a fully driverless environment on human behaviour, the city and signage in an integrated manner. Part of the research is an investigation into the social history of vehicles and specifically autonomous vehicles – to gain a better understanding of the cultural and social history that will inform community and government acceptance of driverless vehicles in the public realm. It is critical that the public realm is safe, environmentally sensitive, and culturally enriching. Admission of the self-driving, novel technology into the public realm is a serious, sobering and significant ethical issue for the community.

Social History

Colin is preparing a social history of autonomous vehicles. The social history includes some interesting findings on artificial intelligence, morality and ethics which will be important social determinants when the driver is, in a future reality, a series of algorithms. The research will investigate intermodal connectivity such as active transport interfaces (pedestrians, cyclists, disabled facilities, various scooters, skateboards etc), air, various rail formats, hyperloops, freight, public transport vehicles, personal vehicles, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles and drones.

The driverless initiative aims to make road-based transport safer than the current driven system, it is intending to save lives and reduce injury, be more efficient and productive with less pollution and reduced climate change impacts and to be less chaotic than current traffic. The research will ask what additional benefits could be derived to make improvements to the urban environment and to assist with improving environmental outcomes as a human platform for non-human agents.

For more information see our article on driverless vehicles.