Beverly Hills City Council Votes for Developing a Driverless Shuttle System

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Apart from a TV show that spread a whole decade in the early '90s, Beverly Hills is best known for housing a lot of really rich people. The kind of people who have servants that don't use public transportation, so if they're to get from point A to point B without driving, they're going to need something special.
Mayor John Mirisch may have just found a solution to this (first world) problem. The Beverly Hills City Council has voted unanimously for the development of a driverless vehicle system that will supplement the traditional forms of public transportation throughout the city.

The program is supposed to function as an on-demand car shuttle service that will be able to take people to and from any address inside the city's limits. This will work best together with the planned installation of high-speed optic cable that will provide easy access to the Internet, as well as the possibility of cars communicating with the city's electronic grid. It will also make it a lot easier to accomplish one of the most important aspects of autonomous driving, which is the inter-connectivity of the vehicles themselves.

Of course, the project is still in its infancy, and it's pretty much dependent on the automakers' (Google&all included) progress towards fully-usable autonomous cars. We know the technology is there, but it still needs a lot more testing until anyone would take the risk of allowing driverless cars to ferry people around a city where there are still driver-operated vehicles as well as pedestrians.

But as the saying goes, if there's a will, there's a way, and Beverly Hills sure sounds like it's determined to make this happen. Mayor Mirisch believes its municipality is the best place for the pilot implementation of such a program. "Beverly Hills is the perfect community to take the lead and make this technology a reality," the Hollywood Reporter quotes his statement announcing the program. "It is now both feasible and safe for autonomous cars to be on the road."

A lot of people would disagree with the second half of that quote (especially the "now" part), but they're not the mayors of Beverly Hills, so their opinion is of less importance. This autumn, the program will be discussed at a public summit where experts will weigh in their opinions, as well as partake in demonstration rides. It's hard to tell how fast this will evolve, but it's the first solid proposal of this type from a local authority. If it proves successful, though, many others will unlikely follow.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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