Science fiction movies have been predicting them for years, but it appears reality has finally caught up with us: driverless cars are now being implemented across the nation. For those in Williamson County, these advances may seem distant. However, there is a chance that they could show up sooner than you think and have a major impact.
What Are Driverless Cars?
If you’ve heard of Uber and similar companies, you already know what driverless cars are: they are automatic cars that lack drivers. Instead they use a variety of sensors and automatic controls to move it forward and pick up people and drop them off. They have become very big in certain parts of the country, particularly on the west coast. In Williamson County, they haven’t quite picked up yet.
Driverless cars offer a variety of benefits that could help expand and improve on Williamson County’s traffic situation. Mike Heiligenstein and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority recently discussed how these cars could change the traffic situation and whether or not it was feasible to integrate them into Williamson County. Their conclusions were somewhat mixed.
What Mike Heiligenstein Had To Say
When meeting with various driverless company representatives, Heiligenstein had to admit that the technology was intriguing to him. The idea of driverless cars was particularly impressive because of the ways it could create a stronger public transportation system in the area. Driverless cars could serve like low-cost taxi and bus transportation systems that needed minimal upkeep.
However, Heiligenstein expressed some concerns over whether or not the county was quite ready for this upgrade. While he and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority have done a lot over the last decade to improve the sometimes congested traffic problem in the country, there is still work to be done. He was particularly concerned with whether or not the infrastructure of the county and the surrounding cities were prepared for it.
Could They Be Coming Soon?
The reality of driverless cars isn’t likely to impact the county for at least several years. First of all, building codes needed to be changed to allow for appropriate parking garages. These garages would be much smaller, as they’d only need to have room for the cars they stored. Current legislation in the county would not allow for them to be built, a concern expressed at the meeting.
That said, when they do come, the impact would be incredible. Much of the traffic problems that plague the area would disappear quickly. After all, driverless cars have a variety of safety features that keep them from crashing. With a few years of perfection, this could streamline the Williamson county traffic situation and make it more manageable.