BEVERLY HILLS—On Friday, January 6, the city of Beverly Hills announced that Beverly Hills released the city has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to be one of the test sites for self-driving vehicles.
The application’s case pointed to its city-wide preparedness to be a test site, as well having attained support from the Beverly Hills City Council. The initiative was voted for unanimously, and Mayor John Mirisch has received the support of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). Mirisch has long since been a vocal supporter of autonomous vehicles, and aims to be a part of what is a considerably historic transition in transportation.
Mirisch indicated Beverly Hills is an “employment center and tourist destination,” and makes it an ideal city to lead the process of establishing self-driven vehicles, especially in the form of public transportation.
“Significantly for Beverly Hills, a city-run AV service will reduce traffic congestion and lessen demand for parking. Much of the national conversation to date has been around autonomous vehicles for personal use, but Beverly Hills has signaled its intent to develop a municipal fleet of driverless vehicles,” states the city of Beverly Hills on its website.
Mayor Mirisch along with technology committee members AJ Willmer and Grayson Brulte indicate Beverly Hills would be an ideal place for smart roads. This includes sensors in the road, along with clear communication between vehicles through the ground fiber-to-the-premise network that would already be set in place and ready within the city’s infrastructure.
If Beverly Hills’ application is accepted, the request would need to go through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which has not passed approval on AV’s use on public streets. The city states that this obstacle will require Beverly Hills to develop the smartest and safest vehicles. The city has also proposed a Municipal Autonomous Shuttle System (MASS) to encourage public transportation, and further the use of automated transportation.
The city of Beverly Hills is having conversations with vehicle manufacturers, transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft, the California DMV and AV technology manufacturers. Beverly Hills is developing relationships with MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and is an affiliate with the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford.
There is also a planned autonomous vehicle summit to be held in Beverly Hills at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts sometime this spring titled, “Driven By Innovation.”