Auto Manifesto

January 7, 2008

Driverless Cars Need Driverless Roads

In order for driverless cars to be widely deployed the road system must be capable of accommodating them. The technology is going to become available much sooner than we think but the establishment of standards, a proven safety record, and deployment of those technologies is going to take more time.

So where will these driverless cars appear first? My guess is in retirement communities and/or maybe college towns, some sort of urban-esque community that doesn’t have as much in/out traffic as a typical metropolis. Most likely retirement communities though. Two main reasons for this.

First because that’s where many of the Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) are operated. These are vehicles designated by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) as such because they cannot exceed 25 mph and are basically used for transportation in certain areas. Geographic limitations, lower speeds and (generally) nice weather would make it easier to implement a driverless car program.

The second reason is because retirement communities have the most people who are losing their ability to drive. But with driverless cars they may still be able to remain semi-independent longer. These communities may have the most need for this type of vehicle. That’s why I think that’s where they’ll first appear.

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