Knoxville mayor to consider self-driving car testing

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File). FILE - This May 13, 2014 file photo shows a row of Google self-driving Lexus cars at a Google event outside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Of the nearly 50 self-driving cars rolling around California.
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File). FILE - This May 13, 2014 file photo shows a row of Google self-driving Lexus cars at a Google event outside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Of the nearly 50 self-driving cars rolling around California.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero is exploring the possibility of the city becoming the next test site for connected and self-driving vehicles.

“We may have a unique opportunity to build a new industry right here in Knoxville led by companies like Grindsmart,” said Mayor Rogero in a statement. “While this is just a discussion, we’ll have the right people in the room to consider the viability of this opportunity.”

Gridsmart Founder and CEO Bill Malkes says the company’s intersection cameras could one day be used with self-driving cars.

“They’ll help the cars that are autonomous and have this technology be able to communicate and interface with cars who are still legacy and don’t have that,” said Malkes.

Right now the technology can be used with connected vehicles.

“In between autonomous vehicles and where we are today, there’s going to be connected vehicles and that’s where the vehicles talk to one another and talk to the infrastructure,” said Malkes. “We’re part of that infrastructure.”

Malke says Rogero will meet with a group of America’s transportation leaders at INTERSECT, an annual high-tech transportation program held at the world headquarters of GRINDSMART Technologies, Inc. in Knoxville.The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

Several cities including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Contra Costa, California; and Tampa, Florida, have already established test beds on both public and private roads.

 

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