Never mind driverless cars – we need intelligent transport systems

If you could automate traffic flows – that is, mandate certain cars to go in certain directions and at certain speeds – you would have the makings of an automotive social network. This is the question all the auto-industry futurology avoids: the question of cooperation and control. If 50 drivers are individually plotting a route via GPS from Leicester to Liverpool, and we are at the stage of automated cars, there is nothing to stop an intelligent system pooling that information, and mandating the car space to be shared, in order to reduce energy consumption; to simplify the journey; to allow a national traffic manager to prioritise or deprioritise what, effectively, would become a car-train.