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Self-Driving Cars: Atlanta Takes First Step to Host Testing of Autonomous Vehicles

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author photo by Russ Heaps March 2017

The fact that Atlanta wasn't included on a recent U.S. Department of Transportation list of 10 sites for testing self-driving cars didn't dampen the desire of city leaders to bring autonomous-car testing to Georgia's largest city, the Associated Press reported. To that end, Atlanta has invited companies to submit proposals to demonstrate their automated or autonomous vehicles (AVs) on a designated city street in September to gauge how effectively and safely their AVs can negotiate busy, real-world traffic. If city leaders like what they see, Atlanta would move forward to transform a section of its North Avenue, around the Georgia Institute of Technology campus, into an AV-testing corridor.

If September's demonstrations are successful, the North Avenue Project, as it's called, would include a number of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) enhancements allowing communication between AVs and traffic lights, as well as sensors analyzing and transmitting road conditions. Although rules regulating any Atlanta testing have yet to be established, it will be a safe bet that human drivers will be on hand in test cars to assume control.

Although critics voice safety concerns regarding AVs testing on city streets, experts all agree that totally self-driving cars will significantly decrease traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities. Atlanta leaders are taking the long view of AVs as the answer not only to making streets safer, but less congested. AVs are a core element in the effort to transform Atlanta into a smart city.

Editor’s Note: Since this is new technology, some terms are new or being newly applied. To make some minor semantic differences clearer to the average consumer, we’ve created a separate article that points out the differences and similarities in words like “Self-driving” and “Autonomous.” For consistency, we have also updated the text in this article.

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Self-Driving Cars: Atlanta Takes First Step to Host Testing of Autonomous Vehicles - Autotrader