Robotic Self Driving Cars

Google announced recently that it has a fleet of robotic self-driving cars. A lot of observers are speculating that truly automatic cars will be a real game changer. It seems reasonable to assume that robotic drivers will soon be better and safer than human ones, and that once the technology is widely accepted, and "automatic vehicles" start plying our roads, accidents and transport costs will start to drop sharply. That in itself will have a big impact on local government, but there are probably a few additional bonus benefits for road authorities. The Google prototypes have a range of sensors including LIDAR, radar and video cameras. These sensors could one day be used to collect all sorts of engineering data; e.g.

  • traffic volumes - they could probably even record the number plates of vehicles they pass for license plate surveys.
  • road condition
  • intersection sight distance calculations
  • location of faded signs & linemarking

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