Our New Book Explores the Driverless Future

For decades we have tried to build a car that will drive itself. Anthony M. Townsend’s Ghost Road argues convincingly that the driverless car is a red herring. When self-driving technology infects buses, bikes, delivery vans, and even buildings, a wild, woollier, future awaits.

Technology will transform life behind the wheel into a hi-def video game that makes our ride safer, smoother, and more efficient. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles will turbocharge our appetite for the instant delivery of goods, making the future as much about moving stuff as it is about moving people. For-profit companies will link the automated machines that move us to the cloud, raising concerns about mobility monopolies and the privatization of “the curb.” Our cities and towns will change as we embrace new ways to get around.

Ghost Road explains where we might be headed together in driverless vehicles, and the choices we must make as societies and individuals to shape that future.


  • You can find an excerpt of Chapter 1, Fables of the Revolution here on Medium
  • In July on the BBC show Rethink, we look at how the pandemic is transforming the way Americans are shopping for groceries today, before turning our gaze to Singapore’s Jurong Lake District, a new town where automation is inverting downtown’s familiar main street strip into a robo-serviced “warehouse beneath your feet”.
  • In June, Anthony Townsend appeared on Dallas NPR affiliate KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd to explain the book’s three big stories: specialization, materialization, and financialization.

Learn more and buy the book at

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