Now that an autonomous car has killed a pedestrian, interested parties are waiting to see what the legal ramifications will be. In the meantime, skittish lawmakers may start looking at safer alternatives to autonomous cars. One such system is by a company called Arrivo, and they're scheduled to complete construction on a test track in Commerce City, Colorado, this quarter.
One of Arrivo's concepts, the City Zipper, is a crazy blend of Elon Musk's HyperLoop concept and autonomous cars, borrowing mag-lev and dedicated routes from the former and hands-free transportation from the latter. The idea is that ordinary cars would pull up to a sort of sled dispenser, then drive directly onto the sled and turn their car off. The mag-lev sled would then whisk them along a sort of super-express lane at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour:
While it's not door-to-door autonomous, it certainly looks like it would cut down on highway travel times. It also operates within a pedestrian-free zone, eliminating the chance of hitting anyone. And the idea of experiencing high-speed-rail-like travel times, but getting to bring your car with you to your destination, may be appealing to motorists.
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The company further envisions their concept expanding to include cargo sleds, taxis and microbuses.
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Here's their portrayal of how that would affect people's lives:
By allowing them to build a test track, Colorado's Department of Transportation is willing to roll the dice on Arrivo. "Our transportation challenges are so big," CDOT Executive Director told Bloomberg, "that if anybody has something that will help, it's incumbent on us to work with them."