One of the more interesting stories from last year ended up lost in the holiday rush.
The DART transit system posted photos on its Facebook page of the autonomous vehicles that were delivered to the Delaware Department of Transportation. Delaware Business Now posted a short piece with the embedded post from the state agency.
Shortly thereafter, the post disappeared from DART’s Facebook page.
DART’s parent, the Delaware Department of Transportation confirmed that the program will be launched sometime this year. A location has not been announced.
Although someone at DART may have jumped the gun, the state’s interest in autonomous vehicles is no secret. Delaware doesn’t want to be left behind by an exciting and sometimes scary technological revolution that is taking place.
Not everyone is happy with this state of affairs. Based on Facebook comments, many are uneasy with autonomous vehicles.
The small vehicles in question would shuttle people around in a controlled lower-speed environment such as the DelDOT complex in Dover or the Wilmington Riverfront.
The goal is to people more familiar and comfortable with the vehicles that lack drivers. A bonus could be an innovative way of getting people around.
There was also a comment or two criticizing the French origin of the vehicles, a reflection of the unease over cutting edge technology coming from offshore.
A few saw the vehicles as a sign that DART is bringing driverless buses to Delaware.
The bottom line is that DART is looking for human bus drivers and will be in that mode for years to come.
For a little perspective check out an earlier story on a Tech Forum presentation from AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Ken Grant. As Grant notes, much work remains to be done, but the revolution is here for better or worse.
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