The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking to increase the capacity of one of the country’s busiest bus lanes by employing self-driving vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the agency will test autonomous buses in the Lincoln Tunnel’s exclusive bus lane, which runs 2.5 miles along New Jersey Route 495. The Port Authority estimates the tech could allow for 200 more buses to run during each morning weekday rush, giving 10,000 more NJ commuters a ride to the Midtown terminal.
Photo courtesy of Optimus Ride
New York’s first fleet of self-driving vehicles has officially landed in Brooklyn. Six autonomous vehicles will roll into the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Wednesday, shuttling passengers in a loop around the 300-acre industrial site for free. Optimus Ride, the Boston-based technology company behind the fleet, will run the autonomous shuttle between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. on weekdays, between the NYC Ferry stop at Dock 72 and Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue.
Brooklyn Navy Yard via Optimus
Self-driving vehicles are officially coming to New York City this year. The Boston-based startup Optimus Ride announced on Wednesday plans to deploy a fleet of autonomous shuttle vans to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre site in the midst of transforming from a World War II-era warship site to a modern tech-hub. When it launches in the second quarter of this year, the self-driving program will be the first of its kind in New York, according to the company.
Governor Cuomo continues his push to improve and modernize transit across the state, announcing today that the first application for an autonomous vehicle demonstration on New York public roads has been approved. As shared in a press release, Audi of America Inc. was given the green light and will begin demonstrations this summer. The upcoming tests will be the first ever made in New York history and will be conducted on roads near the state capital, Albany.
Image of Uber’s self-driving vehicle via Nathan Ingraham for Engadget
On top of plans to roll out flying taxis in NYC within five years, ride-hailing company Uber, in addition to many similar companies, hopes to make driverless cars next on their list of proposals. As reported by Crain’s, shared driverless vehicles could account for a quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. by 2030. Since the cars would be shared, driverless and electric, the low-cost would allow many people to give up their personal cars, especially in densely populated cities. New Yorkers own fewer vehicles than residents in any other U.S. city, making it the biggest market for ride-hail services as well as the perfect guinea pig for companies to test driverless vehicles.
Self-driving cars are definitely in our future. Some states–Nevada, Florida, Michigan, California–and Washington, D.C. are already allowing them on their streets (at least for testing purposes) and a number of others are considering doing the the same. Though the road to a hands-free life has been paved, the future of it all is still up in the air. What would allowing self-driving cars on the road en masse mean for our safety? How will we communicate our needs to them? In what ways will they change how we live day to day? And can they enrich our lives?
International design group and think tank IDEO wants to explore what this new technology could mean for urban life over the next 15 years. With their study “The Future of Automobility” they offer up a wildly vibrant vision through three concepts grounded in the use of autonomous vehicles.