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Cities Have Switched From Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles to Openly Testing Them

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【Summary】According to research from the National League of Cities, urban areas have gone from being skeptical about driverless technology to becoming the proving grounds for the vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 07, 2017 10:45 AM PT
Cities Have Switched From Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles to Openly Testing Them

Autonomous vehicles are set to change a lot of things for the automotive industry. But that's understandable, as the automobile itself hasn't really changed since it first appeared on the scene. What is surprising, though, is how self-driving cars will change cities and urban areas. 

When driverless cars first appeared on the scene, cities weren't too keen on accepting them. There were too many questions that needed to be answered and too many possibilities that weren't accounted for. Since then, though, there's been a fundamental switch in how cities and urban locations look at autonomous vehicles – they're no longer scared of self-driving cars, but accept them. 

Urban Areas Are The New Proving Grounds

According to a report by Business Insider, cities have become the new proving grounds for autonomous vehicles. The outlet points towards General Motors' decision to begin testing its self-driving vehicles in New York as the tipping point for a major transformation in urban mobility. The outlet claims that the adoption of self-driving vehicles nationwide will make it easier for other transportation systems to adopt the technology. 

Urbanites haven't just stopped getting their driver's licenses, they've also started to switch to car-sharing and ride-hailing services, moving towards public transport as their primary method of getting around. With the rise and adoption of self-driving vehicles in cities, urban areas have an opportunity to begin infusing their transportation systems, like tour buses, with autonomous tech, essentially reshaping the systems as we know it. 

Business Insider's National League of Cities research on mobility and technology reveals the major roles autonomous vehicles have taken in getting cities to embrace smarter types of transportation. According to the outlet's report, a few years ago, only a handful of cities were looking into ways to adopt autonomous vehicles. Fast forward to today, and the outlet claims that 38 percent of large cities in the United States are in the process of getting ready for autonomous vehicles. 

Plans See 2030 As The Ideal Date

According to the National League of Cities' research, 20 percent of plans include some kind of plans to reduce road capacity or "road diets," while 50 percent of plans recommend new highway construction. The majority of cities, 18 of them, are looking to complete their changes by 2030, while 15 cities are hoping to get their plans in place by 2040. 

A nifty interactive map by Bloomberg reveals the 53 cities worldwide that are currently testing autonomous vehicles. The map also dictates where the 35 cities that have instituted pilot projects are. As far as the United States goes, the east coast has more cities that are hosting autonomous-vehicle testing and preparing for self-driving cars than the west coast – 15 to 11. 

As autonomous vehicles become more of a regular thing, more cities will begin to introduce plans that accept the machines and put them on a path to succeed. The question then becomes if cities' plans actually help autonomous vehicles or stunt them. We won't have to wait long to see if cities' plans come to action and to see autonomous technology spread to other forms of transportation. 

via: Business Insider


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