Imperial College London

Britons expect robot tour guides and lunch delivery drones in next 20 years


Rendering of a drone delivering a package over a cityscape

Dedicated road lanes for driverless cars and drone lunch delivery are among ways that tech could transform our cities, according to a new public poll.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults – released ahead of London Tech Week 2017 - reveals the technologies consumers think could change our global cities, disrupt traditional industries and drive forward the growth of London’s tech sector over the next 20 years.


Robot DE NIRO, from Imperial's Robot Intelligence Lab

Transport in our cities is set to transform according to the poll, with two-thirds of people believing that advances in driverless car technology could lead to dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles and more than a third saying they would expect to make a journey in an un-manned drone taxi. Almost a quarter of people expect cities to ban human drivers completely.

Changing our cities

61% of people think that city workers could order their lunch to be delivered by drone, and almost half believe that dating agencies that match potential partners through DNA profiling will be commonplace. More than half believe that tourists will be accompanied by robotic tour guides.

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The survey also revealed that over a third of people think we will be able to predict how long someone will live from birth, while 29% of people foresee humans being able to record and image our dreams.
From transport and healthcare to fashion and financial services, technology is changing our cities, the way we work and our everyday lives.

– Professor David Gann

Vice President (Innovation)

However only 12% of people thought we'd be seeing underwater homes in the next 20 years.

The survey, which was commissioned by the founders of London Tech Week, was inspired by a series of predictions put forward by Imperial College London’s Tech Foresight group. 

Tech Foresight brings together world-leading academics and business leaders to offer challenging, provocative and personal visions of the future. On 14th June, as part of London Tech Week, Tech Foresight and the Imperial Business Partners corporate membership programme will jointly host its annual showcase event will look forward 20 years to explore the future of science and technology in areas such as computing, robotics and energy networks.

Professor David Gann

Professor David Gann at London Tech Week last year

Professor David Gann CBE, Vice President (Innovation) at Imperial College London, said: “With some of the world’s best creative minds and leading universities, London is at the forefront of innovation. From transport and healthcare to fashion and financial services, technology is changing our cities, the way we work and our everyday lives.

"Through our Tech Foresight team, Imperial Business Partners is bringing together world-leading business experts, academics and innovators to envision the impact technology will have across a variety of industries. London Tech Week will shine a spotlight on the range of innovative companies and tech talent in London, as well as demonstrating the future technologies which could shape global cities such as London.”


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications and Public Affairs

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