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States Take The Wheel On Driverless Cars

Publication Date: 
July 29, 2013
Source: 
Stateline
Author: 
Maggie Clark

Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society, spoke with Stateline's Maggie Clark about the different ways driverless cars will affect cities.

Drivers here already gawk at Google’s self-driving car zipping around the freeways. In California, Nevada, Florida and the District of Columbia, the future of transportation is now: All four jurisdictions are setting ground rules for self-driving cars on the roads.

The trend is spreading. In this year’s legislative sessions, nine more states debated driverless car bills. While most of the bills died in committees, Michigan’s bill is likely to pass by the end of the year with support from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, a former tech titan who advocated for the new car technology.

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At the local level, driverless cars will change the way cities think about zoning, parking and idling rules, and could eventually allow cities to develop small shuttle-like systems, which would drive predetermined routes and ferry people to and from popular destinations, said Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. Already, a pilot project deploying driverless cars on short, predetermined routes is underway in 12 European cities.