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Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Smart Cities

Posted by Stu Waters on Oct 10, 2017 12:20:26 PM
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Canada is about to host the first on-road demo of an autonomous vehicle in Ottawa on Thursday (October 12th). The car is connected to what the city calls their ‘live infrastructure.' Connecting self driving cars to city services now, will help planners look forward to a time when driverless cars fill the streets. This demo includes Ottawa on a list of ‘Smart Cities’ that think of self-driving cars not only as "autonomous" but as a part of citizen experience.  

Google, Uber, Apple, and Tesla see how transformative the technology will be. Google has spent over a billion dollars and has even built an entire city 100 miles south of Silicon Valley to stress-test its Waymo vehicles. These industry leaders have logged millions of miles, all without drivers, even though many state don't allow fully autonomous vehicles.

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State Laws for Driverless Cars

The automakers are betting on a change of the regulatory winds, and they may not need to wait long. In mid October 2017, the House of Representative is set to vote on a bill which would allow automakers to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year, a cap that would rise over three years.

Self driving cars won’t be the standard overnight, but cities are realizing that they need to be in front of these changes. The interaction between driverless vehicle and human drivers will be a pain point along the path to fully autonomous traffic. To help ease the transition, municipalities are turning to solutions like sensor networks that can describe the complex interactions between drivers, autonomous vehicles, and pedestrians.

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The City of Las Vegas installed Motionloft sensors at high-traffic intersections over the summer. The sensors don’t need to know who is driving to help the city create safer streets and a better citizen experience.  By providing a clear, full view of the flow and trends of traffic, driver or not, cities can feel confident they are growing side by side with their citizens.

Tags: IoT, Smart Cities, autonomous vehicles

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