Despite all the talk (and hype) about autonomous vehicles arriving in our cities in the next decade, the problem is not so much technology as humanity. Regulating the complex, messy spaces of a dense urban environment will also require preventing human beings from doing silly things outside the vehicles and on the streets, where they can’t be rationally programmed. (Yes, I’m thinking of you, cyclists, who will more than ever be able to go wherever they want without fear of distracted or crazy drivers. How long will it take the AV lobby to want to prohibit any user on the road that isn’t also rationally programmed?)
So where could AVs go now that provides exclusivity for vehicles, and physically prevents other users from sharing the space? Why, freeways of course. And that’s already occurred to proponents around the world, including some nearby.
There’s no question that self-driving vehicles are the future. But Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group is hoping to get the jump on the autonomous car future by proposing one of the country’s first dedicated self-driving car lanes, running along I-5 between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Madrona envisions the lane completing over the next 5 to 15 years, starting with introducing autonomous cars into the HOV lane. Eventually, the lane would be entirely reserved for self-driving vehicles. …
Connecting these two centers with a dedicated autonomous vehicle lane would improve the link between the cities while costing significantly less than a proposed $30 billion high speed train line.
There’s another reason why these kind of proposals could be pushed forward aggressively: they would allow the elimination of truckers (the most common job in many U.S. states.) That’s a huge economic incentive, regardless of the political pushback – and the single jurisdiction of most interstate freeways would make it easier to do it. But again, it’s not the ability to invent and manage technology that matters as much as adapting and managing the humans.