Why self-driving cars have slowed down in high-tech Boston
Boston is also allowing self-driving cars to be tested. But the Boston Globe Reports state that “there are far fewer complaints about self-driving cars because you hardly ever see them.”
(F) In the wake of a series of high-profile crashes and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the state Department of Transportation – now under Gov. Maura Healy – appears to have lost its enthusiasm for self-driving vehicles… Only one company is allowed to test self-driving vehicles here – Motionnal Based in Boston – it limits its occasional experiences to a seaport corner and closed track on the Suffolk Downs in East Boston. Despite previous efforts to attract self-driving car companies, the state has not received any new applications in years.
Supporters have long said that autonomous vehicles could transform transportation, with all sorts of economic and social benefits: higher-paying jobs in robotics, manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and lower carbon emissions if people abandon private cars for electric, robotic taxis. But skeptics abound, particularly in San Francisco, where residents say self-driving vehicles have caused traffic jams and impeded emergency vehicles. The two companies that the state granted permission to temporarily stop testing in the city…
Another major difference between Massachusetts and some other states — including California — is where independent testing is more advanced. Here, companies seeking to test self-driving cars need approval from both state regulators and officials in any community they plan to test. In California, autonomous vehicle companies only need approval from the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Public Utilities Commission; They then “notify” local governments of planned tests in the area. These rules greatly ease the way for autonomous vehicle companies, but they have created significant friction between the state and cities like San Francisco, where companies like General Motors-owned Cruise and Waymo, a Google subsidiary, are testing self-driving cars without humans. So far, California has issued permits to seven companies to test self-driving vehicles without safe drivers and to more than 60 automakers and software companies to test self-driving cars with a backup human driver, including Apple, Nissan, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Tesla. , according to state records. In Massachusetts, there is only Mushnall, which seems to tend to stick to the seaport and Suffolk Downs.
One established startup has proposed that the state of Massachusetts create a private track where self-driving vehicles can safely test drive.