Autonomous cars, aka self-driving cars, are one of the many new futuristic technologies that are expected to affect our lives in the near future. The technology and the implications on society are disruptive and game-changing.
A few days after taking office in December, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, along with Rep. Doris Matsui, California Senator Dr. Richard Pan and several Sacramento business leaders held a press conference at the California Auto Museum to announce their intention to make Sacramento a key player in the coming mobility ecosystem. It’s a bold initiative with potentially huge returns for the city.
Additionally, the City of Sacramento has been selected as one of 16 US cities to participate in the the T4A Smart Cities Collaborative project and the Mayor’s Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has launched a website to invite “leaders to form a consortium to outline the goals, timeline, and build a project plan to support a directive of this magnitude – including identification of key stakeholders, leaders, collaborators, supporters, and partners,” with the goal of transforming “Sacramento into an open source platform for Level 5 autonomous vehicles.” (See below for definition of levels of automation). Furthermore, the City of Sacramento has applied to the federal government to allow driverless-car testing, asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to designate the downtown grid as one of the first urban areas in the U.S. to become a testing ground for fully autonomous vehicles.
With this bid to become a key player in autonomous vehicles, it seems appropriate to track developments in Sacramento’s efforts to become a player in the autonomous car and mobility ecosystem.
Timeline of Events
Timeline of significant developments in Sacramento’s autonomous vehicle efforts.
Sacramento city officials apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a grant to allow them to run a pilot program using self-driving shuttle vehicles, but loses out to the city of Columbus, Ohio. Source
The US Department of Transportation releases its policy for the testing and deployment of automated vehicles on public roads. US Department of Transportation
The California Department of Motor Vehicles holds a public workshop at the State Capitol for the public to participate in discussions to facilitate the development of proposed regulations related to the safe operation of Autonomous Vehicles.
Video: DMV Workshop on Autonomous Vehicles, Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
Sacramento is selected as one of 16 US cities to participate in the the T4A Smart Cities Collaborative project that will bring the cities together to tackle the challenges related to implementing smart city policies and projects such as automated vehicles and shared mobility.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg holds a press conference announcing a new coalition with a mission of bringing autonomous vehicle testing to the city.
RELATED: Could Sacramento become the nation’s hub for testing of self-driving cars? Sacramento Bee, December 15, 2016
RELATED: City applies to federal government to allow driverless-car testing Sacramento Business Journal, December 23, 2016
Key Players in Sacramento’s Autonomous Vehicles Push
A list of key players in Sacramento’s push to bring level 5 autonomous vehicles to Sacramento (as far as I know so far).
- Mayor Darrell Steinberg
- Rep. Doris Matsui
- California Senator Dr. Richard Pan
- Jim McGrann – CEO of VSP Global
- Jay Sales – Director & Co-founder of The Shop @ VSP Global
- Oleg Kaganovich – Startup founder, investor, advisor
Both Jay Sales and Oleg Kaganovich have been strong supporters of the initiative on Twitter. Anyone interested in the latest developments should follow them on Twitter as well as related Twitter hashtags: #driverlesssacramento, #sac2thefuture, #SacATOS (Autonomous Transportation Open Standard )
Levels of Driving Automation
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has defined levels of driving automation from “no automation” to “full automation” and the US Department of Transportation has adopted …
0 – No Automation – the full-time performance by the human driver of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even when enhanced by warning or intervention systems
1 – Driver Assistance – the driving mode-specific execution by a driver assistance system of either steering or acceleration/deceleration using information about the driving environment and with the expectation that the human driver perform all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task
2- Partial Automation – the driving mode-specific execution by one or more driver assistance systems of both steering and acceleration/ deceleration using information about the driving environment and with the expectation that the human driver perform all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task
3- Conditional Automation – the driving mode-specific performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene
4- High Automation – the driving mode-specific performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene
5- Full Automation – the full-time performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver
This is article is part one of a series of articles covering Sacramento’s efforts in the autonomous car and mobility ecosystem. Future articles will include a primer covering:
- What are autonomous vehicles
- How do autonomous vehicles work
- Why autonomous vehicles – benefits
- Mobility ecosystem
- Mobility Ecosystem Components
- Future States of Mobility
- Who are the players (companies) and what are they doing
- What Sacramento and CA are doing
- Where in Sacramento the City has proposed for autonomous vehicle testing