…And its happening right here in Las Vegas. On January 30, 2019, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) announced that two areas of Las Vegas: Freemont Street downtown, and roadways adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, are the world’s first roadways equipped with digitized roadway information, the kind that autonomous vehicles (AV) need to operate. And that AV’s are currently deployed using the technology in these two locations.
Other City’s plans for AV tech
The city of Dublin OH announced plans in late January 2019, to connect city vehicles with tablet computers which would communicate with with roadway digital infrastructure transmitted to the vehicle by Road Side Units (RSU). These RSU’s will transmit traffic signal phase and timing information to the On Board Units (OBU) in the vehicles. The OBU’s also transmit their speed and location information, back to the RSU’s. This data is not currently being used to control AV’s but is being gathered and analyzed, laying the groundwork for AV control. This project is part of a grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) of $5.9 million to develop the much larger 33 Smart Mobility Corridor.
Denver CO just launched deployment of its first autonomous shuttle, which will be used to demonstrate and assess last mile services providing service from a commuter rail station, along a predetermined route to designated stops. The shuttle will loop this route every 15 minutes. This is also part of a larger project with support from the State DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a newly formed Colorado Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, which will operate the venture for 6 months.
Where does this lead?
The Federal government is funding and supporting AV research through the USDOT. State governments through their DOT’s are partnering with local governments for development and deployment of the digital infrastructure which will one day support a robust widespread AV vehicle deployment. States are setting up task forces to study development of AV tech and recommend solutions.
Vendors such as software developers, roadside beacon suppliers, and major corporations are beginning to devote larger amounts of resources to support the technology. The market is aligning to make an AV future.
If history is a guide, some of the best minds have already been developing standards for communication and control of AV’s. Those standards will be implemented, assessed, and refined, systems will be discarded in favor of others and a nationwide standard will finally emerge that all vendors will support and on which they will base their tech.
Once that shakeout concludes, it will be a short leap to AV’s being a commonplace addition to our culture. Deployment roadmaps will be developed, and widespread digital infrastructure will roll out.
Ticket Busters will Bust your Ticket
We’re still going to be driving our own vehicles for a good while, which means, that you’re going to be getting tickets. If you do, don’t fret, just call Ticket Busters at (702) 666-6666.