Boston Has Plans for Autonomous Vehicle Testing by the End of 2016

A fleet of Uber's autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh.

A fleet of Uber's autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh. Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

That announcement comes as self-driving Uber vehicles hit the streets in Pittsburgh and as Columbus has proposed a network of driverless shuttles.

There are plans to test self-driving cars on Boston’s streets by the end of this year as part of a new city initiative focused on autonomous vehicles, the mayor’s office there said Wednesday.

The effort comes as the app-based ride-booking service Uber began offering rides with self-driving vehicles to customers in Pittsburgh this week and as Columbus, Ohio is in the early stages of a high-tech transportation program that includes plans for autonomous shuttles.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office said Boston’s autonomous vehicle initiative would involve a year-long collaboration between the city and the World Economic Forum, a nonprofit foundation headquartered in Switzerland. Boston was selected as the lead partner city for the foundation’s City Challenge, which seeks to help cities prepare for future developments with transportation.

John Moavenzadeh, head of mobility industries at the World Economic Forum, said in a statement Wednesday that the city had “distinguished itself in the application process with its strong appetite and track record in civic innovation and some very thoughtful questions."

Through the program, the city will work with the World Economic Forum, the state of Massachusetts, the Boston Consulting Group, other cities, and industry representatives to come up with policy recommendations for self-driving vehicle technology.

A spokesperson for Walsh’s office said in an email Wednesday that the city and the World Economic Forum were in talks with “many businesses” that might have a role in the initiative, but she declined to identify any of them or to say whether Uber would be involved.

The mayor’s office also said it could not say how much the program would cost the city until further planning has been completed.

"With our start-ups and educational institutions, Boston is a leader in technology, robotics and innovation. Together with our partners, we know the City of Boston is ready to lead the charge on this transformative technology,” the mayor said in a statement.

But in comments made to reporters, he expressed a hint of uncertainty about self-driving vehicles.“I’m not even sure I know what I want to see happen here. I just can’t imagine a day in which people aren’t driving themselves. I just can’t,” he said, according to The Boston Globe.

In Pittsburgh, meanwhile, Mayor Bill Peduto ordered a ride Wednesday in a self-driving Uber. Peduto traveled along with Subra Suresh, president of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. Autonomous vehicle research at the university dates back to the 1980s.

Though Uber’s self-driving cars in Pittsburgh can pilot themselves, the company has deployed human overseers with them to take the wheel in certain situations.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, U.S. Department of Transportation staff traveled to Columbus, Ohio to discuss the city’s Smart Columbus program. The program is slated to involve up to $140 million in investments in new transportation technology in the coming years.

Among the marquee projects planned as part of Smart Columbus is a network of self-driving electric shuttle vehicles, which will be capable of carrying up to 12 passengers along three fixed routes in a part of the city where there are retail stores, commercial buildings and warehouses.

Bill Lucia is a Reporter with Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.

NEXT STORY: Despite Governors’ Protests, Syrian Refugees Settle Across the U.S.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.