Boston-based self-driving startup Optimus Ride said on Thursday that it will provide rides in its golf cart-sized vehicles to tenants of a $1.4 billion mixed-use development project in Reston, Virginia, starting later this year. It will be a very modest deployment of the technology — three vehicles on a fixed loop to and from the parking facility — but it underscores the need for self-driving car operators to rein in their ambitions before going public.
Road crashes claim nearly 40,000 lives annually in the United States. The result is considerable financial and emotional suffering to society. Highly automated vehicles (HAVs) — vehicles that drive themselves some or all of the time – should help. By shifting responsibility for driving from humans to machines, this technology minimizes opportunities for behavioral errors blamed in most road crashes.
Ride-hailing services are one example of how urban transportation is changing. Their rapid growth is easy to understand. The people who use them like the convenience of being able to summon a ride on-demand with a smart phone app.
There’s also a very real chance they are or will be disruptive for city transportation networks: the buses, taxis, light-rail, subways and personal vehicles most of us are more accustomed to. That’s why we’re sharing highlights from an analysis conducted by the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Council Advisor Arizona State University (ASU) on the ride-hailing phenomenon.
The study doesn’t claim to have all the answers. However, it offers city leaders and transportation planners a better understanding of who is using the services, where they’re being used, trends and where more research is needed.