Driving into a city, whether its New York or Mumbai, is a guaranteed headache: there are too many cars and too few parking spots.
There is a significant worldwide problem of overcapacity, explained Daniel Roos 61, SM 63, PhD 66, codirector of MITs Engineering Systems Division and one of six panelists at this years Technology Day symposium, Shifting Gears. Panelists examined problems posed by automobiles and their solutions, addressing topics that ranged from environmental impact to automobile design for an aging population.
With soaring gas prices on everyones mind, Ernest Moniz, director of energy studies in the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at MIT, spoke of the efficiency of fossil fuels and the worlds dependency on oil.
Dean Kamen, president of Deka Research and Development, offered his own solution for battling urban congestion: the Segway Human Transporter, a self-balancing personal transportation device, which he views as a practical alternative to using an automobile in the city. The Segway travels at the same average speed as a car in the city.
John Heywood, SM 62, PhD 65, director of the Sloan Automotive Laboratory, captured the essence of the days discussion: The basic problem, he said, is too many of us use too much stuff too often. His solution is equally straightforward: drive smaller, more efficient vehicles; drive less; and drive less aggressively. In other words, drive lite.