Beverly Hills' City Council Wants To Create Its Own Fleet Of Self-Driving Cars; Possibly With Google And Tesla

Apr 19, 2016 06:00 AM EDT | Vanessa Doctor

Beverly Hills is planning to have its own fleet of self-driving cars. The city council recently voted to create its own fleet of autonomous vehicles that will offer shuttle services around town on demand.

The proposed system will depend on a fiber optic network, which is currently in development, which runs throughout the city. The network will ensure that the driverless vehicles maintain communication and can be monitored at all times.

The plan is to ultimately augment or replace public transport with self-driving vehicles,according to The Verge. The city council unanimously voted to come up with a program that would develop autonomous cars as public transportation. The objective is to have self-driving cars that will offer point-to-point transportation anytime. Clients can conveniently ask for a ride via their smartphone.

Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch stated that the availability of an autonomous fleet would fix the first/last mile issue among residents who rely on the Purple Line Extension to enter and exit the city.

"This is a game-changer for Beverly Hills and, we hope, for the region. Beverly Hills is the perfect community to take the lead to make this technology a reality. It is now both feasible and safe for autonomous cars to be on the road,” said Mirisch in a press release.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the first stage of the process will involve Beverly Hills creating partnerships with brands that are currently focusing on self-driving cars, such as Google and Tesla. The city will need help from companies that already have the progressing technology, instead of creating the system on its own. There is still no definite schedule that indicates when the project is expected to be completed. The setup is also largely dependent on the availability of roadworthy cars from top brands.

Overall, the project seems attainable for a place like Beverly Hills. First, the city spans only 5.7 square miles, which would make it possible to cover the entire area with the fiber optic network and allow driverless services at any point. Second, Beverly Hills is rich and can pay for the preparations and technology that would make the system a reality. There are also several wealthy potential clients in the city who would be interested in regularly availing of the service.

In the meantime, the city council also have to look for sponsors, create policy frameworks and develop a budget at future meetings. More updates and details on Beverly Hills’ autonomous fleet are expected soon.

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