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.
“Townsend is not another in a long line of hype merchants who have spent the past decade promising that self-driving vehicles were just around the corner. Ghost Road offers up an exhilarating picture of the ways in which autonomous vehicles might transform our lives for the better, saving time and lives, reshaping cities, and helping combat climate change. But the author is also keenly aware of the risks and costs such a future could bring, and of the possibility that AVs will instead usher in a bleaker, more dystopian tomorrow. “
James Surowiecki, Strategy+Business
“Ghost Road is a relentlessly creative and deeply thought-through analysis of the future of transportation. Having read and reviewed several books about the driverless revolution, I had thought that I knew most what there is to know about the subject. Ghost Road revealed the limits of my understanding.”
Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed
GHOST ROAD is available everywhere books are sold. Patronize independent booksellers worldwide on Bookshop.org. Check WORD Bookstores for local delivery or pickup in Brooklyn and Jersey City. Amazon has the book in stock and is delivering, and of course has a Kindle edition for instant download and Audible audiobook.
Looking for more where the book leaves off? Check out some of the texts that shaped the writing.
*And a handful of corrections that slipped through the cracks.
Dr. Anthony Townsend works at the intersection of urbanization and digital technology. His first book, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for A New Utopia was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 2013.
Anthony is the founder of Star City Group, a strategy consultancy and planning studio that works with industry, government and philanthropy on smart city planning, innovation districts, and automated vehicle policy.
He holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Anthony is available for speaking engagements—conference keynotes, author events, and more. Please contact us.