Cities Plan for Future of Autonomous Cars

Foley & Lardner LLP

One year ago, we posted about the National Association of City Officials’s (NACTO) policy recommendations for autonomous vehicles. NACTO focused on the projected infrastructure requirements for autonomous vehicles. Now, the National League of Cities (NLC) is weighing in that cities need to speed up their efforts of preparing for autonomous cars.

In its Autonomous Vehicles – A Policy Preparation Guide, NLC pointed out several key areas of infrastructure development, including two sometimes overlooked components – the broadband needs of a mixed autonomous vehicle transportation system, and how to handle the terabytes of data that will be created by autonomous vehicle technologies. NLC recommended cities work hand-in-hand with regional broadband providers to begin planning this technology now in order to support the wireless needs of the future, which will dwarf the needs of today. Cities will also need to budget for the data processing, storage, and security of the massive amount of data that will be generated. This data will raise privacy and cyber security concerns. The report identifies partnerships with local academic institutions as one potential way to obtain affordable access to data storage and processing.

Although a McKinsey & Company report predicts fully autonomous vehicles remain a decade away from hitting the roads, connected car technologies are already prevalent in today’s vehicles and vehicle manufacturers plan to begin producing fully autonomous vehicles within the next four years. In the world of infrastructure planning, autonomous vehicles and their needs are just around the corner.

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Foley & Lardner LLP

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