Rather than turn Gov. Cuomo’s OK of self-driving car testing in the city into another episode of their “Bickersons” act, Mayor de Blasio should seize the chance to consider the future.
After months of negotiations with the state, General Motors will soon start testing automated Chevy Bolts cars in a five-square-mile patch of lower Manhattan.
City Hall erupted in fury over safety, labor and traffic concerns and complaining that the Department of Transportation wasn’t notified ’til the night before the announcement.
Yet automated cars crawling along at 5 mph, with an engineer at the wheel ready to take over, are the least of de Blasio’s problems.
But here’s the big thing: Autonomous vehicles are coming. With collision-avoidance and lane-keeping features, the tech is already all through new models of regular cars.
With the promise of far greater safety (no drunk or texting drivers, for starters) and less gridlock, driverless cars could dominate the market within decades. Old-style driving may become rare.
But the transition presents countless challenges, starting with how to divide highways and streets between the old and the new.
While GM is test-driving its vehicles, the city should be studying their impact on everything else. Facing the future matters more than a stupid political feud.