Is the introduction of self-driving cars a long way off? The Michigan Department of Transportation doesn't think so.
MDOT announced Wednesday that it is conducting an online survey in collaboration with the Center for Automotive Research to determine what's needed for a successful testing environment for autonomous vehicles in southeast Michigan.
Autonomous vehicles have the ability to communicate with other vehicles and the surrounding environment to safely navigate to their destination. This technology holds the potential of drastically reducing traffic crashes by taking the human elements of reaction time and distraction out of the driving process.
And the concept is not that far from reaching roadways. While research in the automotive industry continues in the field of autonomous vehicles, several states–including Nevada, Florida and California–have already passed legislation regarding the issue.
"Automotive and technology researchers have brought this concept to the brink of reality," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "The next steps include real-world testing to ensure the technology is working as planned and is meeting consumer needs."
The survey will ask those involved in the automobile, robotics and technology sectors to participate in the survey, asking them questions about how long they think it will be until autonomous vehicles are on public roads, and what the barriers are to their integration.
"This survey will play a pivotal role in determining what autonomous vehicle and robotics manufacturers need as a platform to further develop, test and deploy this technology," Steudle added. "Southeast Michigan is already home to the most advanced automotive research and development facilities in the world, which makes us the ideal location for this emerging industry."
Those interested in viewing the survey can do so at www.cargroup.org/?module=Page&sID=mdot.
Here on Patch, we're conducting our own survey. If autonomous vehicles ever go public, would you "drive" one? Tell us why or why not in the comments.