Could Delaware position itself as a leader in driverless cars? - Delaware


Could Delaware position itself as a leader in driverless cars?

That's what a new report from the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration and the state Department of Transportation says.

Autonomous vehicles could be hitting the road soon, and a recent report shows Delaware is prepared for their arrival.

(Photo by Flickr user Blende57)

Driverless car may be hitting the road sooner than we think. Major companies, such as Samsung, Google, and Verizon, have been testing prototypes, while Ford anticipates they will be producing autonomous vehicles within the next five years.

The Delaware Department of Transportation is already taking measures to ensure that Delaware leads the pack when these new vehicles become available. DelDOT officials recently enlisted researchers from the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration to provide a breakdown of the ways the state will be impacted, when driverless cars become a thing.

IPA Associate Policy Scientist Philip Barnes worked with Eli Turkel, a graduate fellow at IPA, to produce the 35-page report, which touches on everything from safety and traffic issues to how autonomous vehicles will affect the state’s economy.

Barnes and Turkel used a confidence rating system (ranging from low to high) to describe how autonomous vehicles will impact certain situations. The pair are highly confident that the vehicles will result in a decrease in accidents, fatalities and injuries. They also seem certain the number of residents who own a vehicle will decrease once driverless cars arrive.

According to the report, the key to a successful integration will be both administrative and technological.

“Socially beneficial outcomes are possible with the proactive, collaborative involvement of state and local governments, citizens, the business community, research partners, advocacy organizations, and other relevant stakeholder groups,” IPA Director Jerome R. Lewis said in the report’s preface.

After conducting their research, Barnes and Turkel determined that Delaware is very well prepared to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

“The Delaware Department of Transportation possesses an extensive telecommunications network that can be leveraged for autonomous vehicle integration, and DelDOT is proactively upgrading its systems in anticipation of autonomous vehicle deployment,” they wrote in the report, adding that if action is taken now, Delaware could position itself to be a leader in the autonomous vehicle area.

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