OK, we’ll get to the punchline in a minute.
But here’s the story: The N.C. Turnpike Authority must be a pretty creative group, because out of 60 applications for a special project with the U.S. Department of Transportation, it was chosen.
The project: To have the N.C. 540 Triangle Expressway toll road be one of 10 testing sites around the country for driverless car technology. The road, which connects the Research Triangle Park with Cary, Apex and Holly Springs, will be ready for testing as of January of next year. Still to be determined is whether roads will be closed or if the driverless cars will tour along in traffic with those that have drivers.
And from the Authority executive director comes these encouraging words: “We will not do anything to compromise the safety of our customers or the reliability of their commute.”
Well, OK. It is true, by the way, that no laws exist to govern driverless cars. Understandable for obvious reasons. A driverless car will presumably not change lanes without signaling. A driverless car will not take its eye off the road to grab a spilled coffee out of the floorboard. A driverless car will not daydream or lose attention to changing the radio stations.
Finally, a driverless care will not talk on a cell phone or text while driving.
Hmmmm ... maybe we should clear all the roads for the experiment. Permanently.