Though Elon Musk believes that Tesla will roll out completely autonomous vehicles by the middle of 2020, city officials seem to be less optimistic.
According to a new study conducted by the "Journal of the American Planning Association," very few American city planners are working on anticipating the effects of self-driving cars.
Why cities aren't planning
Though the adoption of self-driving cars will surely have a big impact on city life, most city planners are not making plans around the new technology. Some may attribute this to the fact that completely autonomous cars may not be a reality for another few decades despite Elon Musk's optimism. However, the study suggests that planners may be missing an opportunity to preemptively deal with the challenges autonomous vehicles (AVs) will present.
So why aren't cities planning? The study suggests a few reasons:
- Waiting for an example: Many city leaders said that they were waiting for higher levels of government to set a precedent.
- Lack of funding: According to the study, larger richer cities were generally more prepared for AVs than poorer cities.
- Uncertainty about the future: While most officials surveyed believe that the introduction of AVs would be positive, many expressed reservations about the safety of the vehicles.
What does it mean for consumers?
Officials' reluctance to dedicate funding towards AV introduction may also indicate to consumers to be cautiously optimistic about the current sophistication of the technology.
Though AVs promise to add a lot of value to the market place, there will be many challenges to overcome. City planning is just one of many issues that will surround the introduction of autonomous vehicles.