US making strides with AVs as the public remains skeptical - Mobility Lab

U.S. roads and infrastructure may routinely get embarrassing report cards, but at least the country is doing relatively well on planning for autonomous vehicles.

The U.S. ranks fourth – behind The Netherlands, Singapore, and Norway – on the 2019 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, compiled by consulting firm KPMG.

Although the U.S. public still seems to be struggling with what to think about AVs, Richard Threlfall of KPMG notes that “we have seen a huge acceleration in investment in AV technology, in policy adoption by governments to encourage AVs, and in media coverage of the topic.”

Several important milestones occurred along the way in 2018:

  • China allowed for the first tests on its public roads.

  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles removed a requirement that AVs must have a human driver to take over in emergencies.

  • Japan announced plans to provide AV service for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Ford created a new AV division.

  • Europe’s first autonomous ride-hailing service was launched, and

  • Ford, Walmart and, Postmates announced a pilot to deliver groceries with AVs.

The Netherlands gets the top spot in the firm’s ranking because it has plans in place for more than 100 driverless trucks to run routes between major cities, intends to reward a special driver’s license for AVs that perform up to certain test standards, and has created a general framework to help in a wide range of situations, such as quickly introducing AVs for airport public transportation and avoiding AV interaction with people on bikes in urban areas.

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