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Automated robotaxis will appear on New York roads


Alina Prikhodko

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New Yorkers will soon see the cars of the future on the city's roads. City authorities announced the launch of cars with autopilot function. According to New York Post, at the first stage, artificial intelligence inside the car will insure the driver.

The cars, which caused an uproar among San Franciscans over safety concerns when they were piloted last year, will be controlled by the city's Department of Transportation (DOT) in New York.

Adams said the new autonomous vehicle program would be an example of “responsible innovation.”

“This technology is coming whether we like it or not, so we will try to get it right,” Adams said in a statement. “If we do this, our streets will be safer and our air will be cleaner.”

Driver for backup

The main requirement at the testing stage will be the presence of a person in the car who will take the wheel in case something goes wrong. These drivers will be required to undergo a background check as well as “appropriate training on the vehicle systems they will be testing.”

The city will require companies seeking permits to undergo a testing process and submit a safety plan to the DOT before they can take their place alongside Ubers and yellow cabs.

On the subject: Adams reported on his two years as mayor of New York: what he managed to do for the city

Some community activists have already opposed the plan, saying the new technology would jeopardize the safety of other drivers and pedestrians.

“Driverless cars are an unproven, dangerous technology and have no place in New York,” said Danny Harris, executive director of the safe streets advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “New Yorkers should not be lab rats for an auto industry that has already killed and maimed thousands of our fellow citizens.”

California Experience

After robotaxis began to interfere with buses and emergency vehicles and create traffic jams in the city, San Francisco residents were outraged. California regulators were forced to take action to limit the initial rollout after a driverless car operated by Cruise (General Motors) dragged a pedestrian more than 6 feet to the curb on a San Francisco street.

A few months later, a car launched by Waymo (Google) hit a cyclist, causing him minor injuries. Despite its spotty performance, Waymo recently received approval from California regulators to roll out self-driving cars in Los Angeles and San Mateo counties.

On the subject: We asked artificial intelligence what New York would be like in 2050 and 2100: here's what it said

A Waymo spokesperson welcomed Adams' announcement and said the Google-owned unit has a "long-standing partnership with New York, where we previously conducted manual driving and winter weather testing."

“We commend this important step and the city’s ongoing commitment to innovation and better transportation for New Yorkers,” said Michelle Peacock, Waymo’s global head of public policy.


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