SAN ANTONIO – No longer just a concept from the Judson television show, self-driving cars are here, and the technology behind them continues to improve. Now the city of San Antonio is offering Texas A&M University researchers a big stretch of road to try it out.
City leaders for San Antonio have applied to be a testing ground for connected and autonomous cars.
“It’s definitely got a high volume of vehicles,” Arthur Reinhardt, with the city’s transportation improvements office, said of Fredericksburg Road. “As well as long blocks of length and signals that are spread out far apart.”
Reinhardt said the city has suggested the Northwest Side road from the Medical Center to downtown as a testing site for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
San Antonio and other Lone Star State cities – Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Austin – are in a partnership with research institutes to further cars that drive, or practically drive, themselves.
While testing on controlled tracks is helpful, researchers say real streets provide the unexpected, like work crews and potholes.
The goal is to allow road to continue to get smarter – with enhanced technology – as cars get smarter.
While the city should learn in the next several weeks if it has been given the green light to be a test market, it is likely to be years before drivers see driverless cars on San Antonio streets.