Smart cars now hit Atlanta


Jared Wickerham

Uber employees test the self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid cars in Pittsburgh, Pa on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Miroslav Georgiev, Staff writer

Atlanta is not the first city one considers when discussing driverless cars. But ever since the White House launched the “Smart Cities” program last September, of which Atlanta is a member city, there is a very real possibility that what some consider to be the future of cars will come sooner rather than later to Atlanta’s streets and avenues.

The city government is not alone in its efforts to bring driverless cars to Atlanta’s streets. Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, as well as major companies, UPS and The Home Depot, and car manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, have all expressed a commitment to the “development of self-driving technologies,” according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.WABE

News reports that driverless cars are only “the first step in Atlanta’s embrace of the next wave of innovation in the automotive industry”; indeed, an entire infrastructure is in the works to accommodate driverless cars.Atlanta has already invested $250 million in several “Smart Cities” initiatives. Among these are vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies, which many hope will ease one of Atlanta’s biggest problems โ€” traffic โ€” with the development of devices that can “warn autonomous vehicles of red lights, excessive speed, or dangerous conditions,” according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. (“Autonomous vehicles” is another term for driverless cars.)

So-called “smart corridors” have been set up along North Avenue “from Tech Parkway/Luckie Street to near Dallas Street,” as the Business Chronicle reports, as demonstration projects to test the efficacy of driverless cars in Atlanta’s streets. The smart corridors are set up in an area where a lot of traffic exists to see if they will improve or worsen it.More testing will be needed, and as long as the money continues to flow, the driverless cars of the future will remain just around the corner.