Self-Driving Cars: Sooner is Better

Last year an estimated 40,100 Americans died in traffic accidents, and human error causes more than 90 percent of crashes. Motor vehicles now contribute to 75 percent of carbon monoxide pollution. And commuters in more than 100 U.S. cities now spend more than 40 hours annually stuck in traffic on average. If autonomous vehicles can reduce these numbers in a significant way, why wouldn’t we want them sooner than later? However, to deploy them universally, infrastructure must evolve. That means city leaders must be on board with automakers and technology companies. Here is the key: development of proactive policies and planning strategies to ensure that city streets, not just our cars, are connected and made with the latest technology. Autonomous vehicles are essentially extremely powerful computers. But for software to fully replace human drivers, and do it safely, each computer needs to be sharing its data and communicating not only with the computer in the opposite lane – but with pedestrians, crosswalks, signals, and public transportation services.

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