Funding for AV Pilot Projects in US Cities

A charitable foundation has established an initiative that purports to make AV infrastructure rollout in US cities a citizen-centric phenomenon.

The John S and James L Knight Foundation has said it is spending $5.25M on AV pilot projects in the cities of Long Beach and San Jose, California, Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh. It claims the aim of the projects is “to develop people-centred smart cities”, as part of its mission to use technology to improve community relations.

Community representatives will apparently meet with officials from the Knight Foundation to ensure that AV infrastructure in the selected cities is developed with the needs of local residents in mind. It is also hoped that the pilots will “generate insights and lessons for other communities trying to keep up with the increasing pace of testing and deployment of self-driving vehicles”.

The Knight Foundation says AV technology represents a great opportunity for cities, but very few of them are taking advantage of all the opportunities it presents, and it promotes itself as staging a worthwhile intervention in this respect. It cites a National League of Cities report showing just 6% of US cities are planning for AV tech’s effects on urban mobility as evidence for the validity of these pilot projects.

Detroit’s project will focus on first-and-last mile transportation solutions, Long Beach’s will concern integration of eco-friendly short-distance transport, Miami’s on autonomous shuttle buses, Pittsburgh’s on reduction of single-passenger journeys and San Jose’s on integration of AVs with other modes of transport.


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