Autonomous Cars Get Real in Los Angeles
Right now, when we talk autonomous cars we're all talking cars of the future. They're not on the market right this second, aside from some autonomous features. So it feels like they're far enough away to potentially kick discussion of living with them down the road. The City of Los Angeles is taking things more seriously, announcing a Coalition of Transportation Technology to plan for our autonomous future.
At this year's Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show, the city announced the urban planning project to address this huge shift in transportation. The goal of the Coalition is to plan how vehicles will move through the city and to consider the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists who will be sharing the road. There's also the need to address new parking systems for these vehicles.
Seven companies are planning autonomous vehicles by 2020, which makes this type of planning imperative. The concern is that the cars will be ready, but that government agencies will lag behind in creating the rules needed to get them on the road. Just as the testing process has been tightly controlled on city streets, so must the process be controlled when these cars are finally sold to the public. According to Jalopnik, some cities, including Oslo, have completely banned autonomous cars from the city center. Some cities can afford to do this, but Los Angeles has long been a driving city, and is going the other direction, embracing autonomous technology and making plans to be ready.