‘Reserve 150 mile stretch of highway for self-driving cars’
A group of tech industry veterans in Seattle wants to ban human drivers from a 150-mile stretch of Interstate 5 and reserve it for self-driving cars, trucks and buses. They released their plan during a innovation conference in Vancouver.
The designated art of the highway between Seattle in the US and Vancouver in Canada should be used as a testing ground for autonomous vehicles, according to a proposal that says embracing the technology would save lives, ease congestion and be less expensive than a high-speed rail system, Bloomberg reports.
Peak travel periods
The plan has been conceived by Tom Alberg, co-founder of Madrona Venture Group and a board member of Amazon, and Craig Mundie, a former Microsoft executive. They presented their concept at the conference and suggest phasing the 150 mile stretch in over a decade. In their vision, the implementation of the plan could start with allowing autonomous driving vehicles in carpool lanes.
Ultimately, the concept allows only autonomous vehicles on the highway during peak travel periods. Human drivers would be allowed to drive the stretch between 8 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon weekdays and on weekends. Self-driving vehicles will move more people and goods on existing infrastructure since they can travel more tightly and at higher speeds with less braking, the report says.
It will happen
In an interview, Alberg said it is unknown how long it will take for autonomous driving to become widespread. It could be in two years, five years, ten years or even longer. “But this is going to happen, and ultimately I’m convinced these will be safer than human drivers. Why not start planning for this now?”
If government leaders on both sides of the border form a team to explore such a plan, they would attract investment from Google, Uber, Ford and General Motors, Alberg said, adding that doing so would put the region at the forefront of innovation and distinguish it from cities like Chicago, where a politician wants to ban autonomous cars because safety concerns.