Urban Tattoo


MIT Media Lab - City Science Group

MIT Media Lab - City Science Group

Project Contact:

Scalable Urban Infrastructure for Human-Machine Cohabitation

New infrastructure to help sustain public-sector participation and operation, and maximize public interest and safety.

Advancements in autonomous technology have led automobile makers and tech companies to focus on reinventing the automobile—increasing computational capability and enhancing sensor systems. But due to strict road-safety regulations, this vehicle-centric, inside-out approach may take years to materialize, and when it does, restricting “autonomy” to selected vehicles will limit autonomy’s impact on street safety and accessibility.

To address current issues, The City Science group focuses on ways to offload often-heavy computational requirements from the vehicle through affordable interventions to street infrastructure by creating human-machine readable traffic signs and urban markers.

With the support of a new genre of smart urban infrastructure, we believe this “autonomy-lite” approach will soon allow lightweight autonomous vehicles to be widely deployed and navigate smoothly in most urban environments.