D.C. Council Looks to the Future – Driverless Transportation

It's the stuff of science fiction stories come true: Some D.C. Council members are working to bring driverless cars to the District.

The driverless travel of “The Jetsons” isn't here yet, but not for want of trying.

Last May, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh tried out a prototype driverless car by Google -- one of several industry attempts to make futuristic travel come true. Those working on driverless cars think they can have them out in five years, Cheh said.

So she hosted a hearing Tuesday on new legislation that would legally permit driverless cars to travel the streets of Washington -- just like California, Florida and Nevada -- whenever they arrive.

“Well, the real attraction is increased safety,” said Ron Kirby, of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “About 70 percent of the vehicle crashes are unimpaired drivers. These are drivers that were impaired in no way. They just make mistakes.”

President Barack Obama’s administration said Tuesday that it is launching a new research initiative on the safety and reliability of driverless technologies.

Council member Jack Evans said he's excited about the city's action and the future.

“In any event, this is another step closer to ‘The Jetsons,’ he said. “Not ‘The Flintstones,’ ‘The Jetsons.’”

Contact Us