autonomous vehicles

Oregon DOT’s AV Task Force rolls on — without a biking or walking rep at the table

Avatar by on April 12th, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Image from cover of ODOT’s Autonomous Vehicles 101 presentation.

— Caleb Diehl is a staff writer at Oregon Business Magazine. This is his first story for BikePortland.

Despite recent news of an autonomous vehicle crash in Tempe, Arizona, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s task force on autonomous vehicles is driving forward.

The group will hold its first meeting on April 18. Among the 27 members appointed by ODOT Director Matthew Garrett you’ll find members of the trucking, taxicab and automotive industries.

You won’t, however, find anyone from an organization that advocates for biking and walking.

ODOT spokesperson Sarah Kelber said she couldn’t comment on the makeup of the task force, which is outlined in HB 4063, the bill that created it. The language of the legislation doesn’t leave much wiggle room for choosing appointees. But it does mandate that one member come from a nonprofit, which could have opened the door for an advocate of vulnerable road users. The Street Trust’s Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said his organization was notified too late in the process to take part.
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Portland’s cautious approach to AVs should prevent what just happened in Tempe

Avatar by on March 19th, 2018 at 11:48 am

Scary news out of Tempe.

Uber has been testing its new self-driving cars on human subjects since last year and now it appears one of them has killed a person who was walking across a street. The collision happened in Tempe, Arizona late last night. According to a local news report, “Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel.”

This is the second self-driving Uber (that we know about) that has been involved in a collision. Last month a local news station in Pittsburgh reported that one of them slammed into another car while in self-driving mode.

After last night’s death, Uber has announced it will immediately end its testing in Tempe and Pittsburgh, as well as San Francisco and Toronto.

Thankfully in Portland our local leaders and transportation officials have not allowed a private company to test their deadly product on humans.
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Mayor Wheeler on autonomous vehicles: Portland is “open for business”

Avatar by on April 19th, 2017 at 10:56 am

Bike traffic on NW Broadway-20

Don’t worry! Those cars are driving themselves.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hoping to get out in front of what many see as an inevitable tidal wave in vehicle technology that will transform our streets, the City of Portland has announced the Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI).

The announcement was made this morning at the Portland Business Alliance’s April Forum Breakfast event. Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Saltzman spoke at the event and formally launched the initiative via the Portland Bureau of Transportation (which Saltzman oversees). By the end of this year the city will develop a suite of policies and review proposals from private companies that want to test AVs on Portland streets.

“My goal is to have an autonomous vehicle pilot program in Portland, working for Portlanders, by the end of the year,” Wheeler said in a statement. “To the inventors, investors and innovators, I’m here to say that Portland is open for business. By working with private industry, we can make sure that cutting edge technology expands access to public transit and reduces pollution and congestion.”
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