The Practical Path to Driverless Cars

As Silicon Valley races toward the future of driving, Tampa is keeping a more manageable pace.

 

Jason Bittner is into “trip-chaining,” he says, in his personal life as well as his professional one. His job is director at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR, pronounced cutter, not cuter) — home, Bittner says, to the largest collection of full-time faculty studying public transportation in the country. That’s 43 faculty researchers and about as many student-researchers, working on 180 projects, as well as a new division devoted entirely to driverless cars called the Autonomous Vehicle Institute, which Bittner was integral in developing. This is how far ahead CUTR plans: there are 23 saplings planted on the front lawn.

 

By the time those saplings mature, driverless cars may be here, and, like horseless carriages a century and a half earlier, they will be a quantum leap removed from their predecessors. We are just now taking the first baby steps towards that leap. Only four states (California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada) allow driverless cars. And the federal government has only authorized a handful of public-road test beds — Tampa has one — for so-called “connected vehicles,” which are not necessarily driverless.

 

Source : RICHARD MORGAN, The Atlantic Citylab

 

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