Kingsley Dennis1Post-Autopia as a Dystopian Digital Nexus?Kingsley Dennis for
The image of the automobile being the gateway to ‘unfettered’ freedoms and brandedas the ultimate spontaneous ‘get away’ has long been sold to privileged societies as a
. Mobility is now a much-heralded paradigm that merges and remakesconnectivity as physical and digital networks are being constructed at increasinglyaccelerating speeds. This paradigm also considers that technological infrastructureswill enable people to be more individually mobile in physical-digital space, formingincreased small world connections and facilitating lifestyles ‘on the go’. Yet inherentin this mobility paradigm is a more troubling underside: namely, that the 21st centurywill be a ‘site’ and ‘space’ of increasingly restrictive surveillance and digitalinfrastructures. In this short paper I wish to address the aspect of technology to thefuture of automobility.
The trend in automobility infrastructures has been towards embedding informationwithin architectural places/spaces and moving objects. This has enabled theconstruction of communicative relations between cars, roads, and the environment.The aim of these shifts is said to be in favour of safety whereby technology is to takesome degree of autonomy away from the driver so that response-reaction times can bequickened under such automation. In other words, the cars take on some of theresponsibility in communicating their presence to other cars similarly to how peoplesignal their presence to others within a social context. For example, a Germanresearch project envisions a peer-to-peer network for vehicles on a road passing databack and forth (Ward, 2007). Likewise, the ‘Car 2 Car Communication Consortium’
is a non-profit organisation set-up by several European vehicle manufacturers forresearching and developing road traffic safety by means of inter-vehiclecommunications. Already ‘Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Renault andVolkswagen have formed the Car-2-Car Communications Consortium to seek
Other important issues such as fuel/energy systems; pollution; urban density, etc, whilst significantwill not be covered in this paper.