This Map Shows Every City on Earth Where Self-Driving Cars Will Roam
Are they coming to your town?
The day when you and I can hop into a self-driving car and let the machinery whisk us away is a long way off, but autonomous cars are becoming a more common sight on public roads. Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute put together an interactive map showing which cities are hosting self-driving car testing, and which ones plan to.
According to the map, 35 cities are currently hosting autonomous-driving pilot programs, or have committed to doing so in the near future. An additional 18 cities have begun planning for the eventual arrival of autonomous cars, but haven't committed to any pilot programs. Entries for each city show how officials expect self-driving cars to be used, and what entities they are partnering with.
As the federal government grapples with self-driving car regulations, city governments will have to step up their own regulatory efforts. Cities will provide both the ultimate test for self-driving cars, but they may also prove to be where autonomous vehicles are most widely used.
The chaos of city traffic makes for a much more challenging environment than highway driving, but cities may be where self-driving cars spend most of their time. Commuters will likely see the greatest benefit from self-driving cars, since they'll be virtually gaining back the time currently lost driving themselves to and from work, and possibly being more productive with their travel time. The combination of self-driving cars and-ride hailing services could also transform city streets, since there may not be as much of a need for parking spaces.
A Bloomberg Philanthropies survey found that many cities expect self-driving cars to fill gaps in their transit systems. Autonomous vehicles could handle the so-called "last mile," getting people from transit hubs like train stations to their final destinations. But city governments will have to work with the companies developing self-driving cars to make those orderly scenarios happen and avoid an uncontrolled swarm of robotic vehicles.
Companies are eager to deploy autonomous test vehicles, whether cities are ready or not. General Motors recently got the green light from the New York state government to test self-driving cars in Manhattan, but no one told New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who later opposed the efforts. Most of the discussion of self-driving car regulations has focused on the state and federal levels, but local governments still have their part to play.