According to an article originally published on Drive, people being able to drive their own vehicles between Seattle and Vancouver may soon come to an end if a plan proposed by Medrona Group, a Seattle-based technology firm, cones to pass. The plan was recently announced during the Cascadia Conference during which Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Prime Minister Christy Clark pledged to work together more closely in development of the region.
The plan proposed by the Medrona Group would allow autonomous cars into the HOV structure of I-5 immediately. Then, the company suggests that new lanes for self-driving cars be constructed using some of the $2 billion of venture capital pouring into Vancouver. After the lanes are constructed, then non-autonomous cars and trucks would be banned from driving on the I-5 except overnight and on the weekends.
The plan further states that the speed of development for self-driving cars should be accelerated by combining the forces at the University of Washington’s new Mobility Innovation Center with students at the University of British Columbia.
There is no doubt that the 140 mile stretch of interstate between Seattle and Vancouver can become a nightmare. Medrona Company, however, does not want to see anyone lose their jobs or have to move when their plan goes into effect. Therefore, they recommend that a voucher system be developed where low-income people could receive a self-driving car for free.
Eventually, Medrona Company wants to see the plan extended to include other areas of the Pacific Northwest where traffic is a problem. Their next goal would be to include Portland, Oregon, into the mix.
While this plan may not be perfect, it does have the support of Bill Gates behind it. Microsoft recently moved to Seattle following a move earlier by Amazon. The future in the area seems bright for technology companies. Therefore, if any area of the country is ready to accept self-driven cars it seems like this would be the perfect place.