The city of Beverly Hills is looking to augment its public transportation system with autonomous vehicles.
At a city council meeting earlier this month, council members unanimously voted to create a program that Mayor John Mirisch says will help take private cars off the road, reduce demand for parking and increase safety and mobility for everyone, including those with disabilities.
The ritzy city in Los Angeles County may seem like an unlikely candidate for an experimental public transit system, much less one augmented with self-driving cars, but it does have multiple factors in its favor.
For starters, one would assume the city certainly has the money to develop and deploy the on-demand, point-to-point autonomous transit system it envisions. At just 5.7 square miles, the city is also small enough to roll out a system without too much effort.
Other factors that were considered include the city's temperate climate and its well-maintained roads.
A group of tech-savvy residents that make up the city's technology committee have been working with the council to develop the autonomous vehicle program alongside other technology projects. They're currently designing a city-wide fiber optics network that, among other benefits, will enable communications with smart cars of the future.
In a press release on the matter, city representatives said they aim to develop partnerships with leaders in the autonomous vehicle space including Google and Tesla. Once completed, people would be able to request a ride using their smartphones.