Here Are The Cities Where Autonomous Vehicles Will Work The Best
The idea of cruising around in an autonomous vehicle sounds amazing. You open the door, tell your car where you want to go, maybe work on some business, and then soon arrive without the time wasted spent driving yourself. When you really look into the concept of these vehicles, you start to think about important things like where you yourself is located.
Is the city you happen to be in actually accommodating for self-driving cars? Think about the heavy traffic in Los Angeles, or the constant bumper-to-bumper in NYC. Can this all be handled with the technology? A new report has some answers.
INRIX, a Seattle-based traffic data collection and research firm, has issued a report on where these new autonomous vehicles would be best suited to operate. It’s especially helpful to governments who want to start planning for the best areas to manage.
What INRIX did is analyze America’s 50 largest cities. They would compare each city by two things: how many of the trips were less than 10 miles and the percentage of trips that were within a range of 25 miles from the downtown area.
The report focuses on these two measures because most autonomous vehicles will have electric powertrains. That means that the cars can’t go off and drive to Alaska on a whim because the cars need to have a charging station nearby. This also takes into account that the car will be in a heavily populated area, so the seats in the cars will probably be filled with people.
All that being said, the places INRIX found most appealing for autonomous vehicles were cities that were less sprawling than others. One of the cities, New Orleans, seems like an ideal place for this.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority tested a driverless shuttle bus in the city: “It’s another tool in being able to connect people from where they live to where their jobs are,” explained Jeff Hebert, the city’s deputy mayor and chief administrative officer.
Unsurprisingly, cities as densely populated as San Francisco and Chicago ranked pretty low on the list. Densely populated cities are more difficult for autonomous vehicles because drivers in those cities take more trips that are longer and further from downtown.
You can read the entire report here, but as I expected, there is still a lot of things to iron out before the roadways look like something out of Minority Report.
Follow Jeff Sorensen on TWITTER
Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.