San Jose to be­gin a self-driv­ing car shut­tle

Merced Sun-Star - - News - BY EMILY DERUY

San Jose res­i­dents may soon see driver­less cars shut­tling pas­sen­gers be­tween down­town and San­tana Row.

The Bay Area’s largest city an­nounced Thurs­day that it has signed an agree­ment to launch an au­tonomous ve­hi­cle pi­lot project with MercedesBenz and Bosch.

The project is ex­pected to kick off in the sec­ond half of 2019 as an on­de­mand ride-hail­ing ser­vice.

“San Jose is en­ter­ing the de­mon­stra­tion agree­ment with an eye to­ward solv­ing trans­porta­tion chal­lenges – like mit­i­gat­ing traf­fic and con­ges­tion – that are ex­pected to in­ten­sify as the pop­u­la­tion grows 40 per­cent in the next 22 years,” John Ris­tow, the act­ing di­rec­tor of trans­porta­tion, said in a state­ment.

Un­der the project, SClass sedans car­ry­ing two safety driv­ers who can take over in case of an emer­gency will ferry pas­sen­gers along West San Car­los Street and Stevens Creek Boule­vard.

Many of the specifics – who will be al­lowed to hail rides and where ex­actly the cars can go – are be­ing worked out. And th­ese won’t be the first driver­less cars to hit San Jose’s streets. Waymo has been test­ing ve­hi­cles across the re­gion, and Auto X launched a gro­cery de­liv­ery ser­vice in San Jose with self-driv­ing cars.

But Mer­cedes-Benz and Bosch are the first com­pa­nies to part­ner di­rectly with the city in a move of­fi­cials say will be mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial. The com­pa­nies will be able to tap into the city’s in­ter­con­nected traf­fic sig­nal sys­tem, which will let them time trips bet­ter. And the city will gain ac­cess to data about traf­fic con­ges­tion and ve­hi­cle speed.

San Jose said it wanted to study driver­less cars for a range of rea­sons, in­clud­ing re­duc­tion of green­house gas emis­sions and traf­fic deaths.

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