Driverless Highway Lane Could Eventually Connect Vancouver and Seattle

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A group of West Coast tech entrepreneurs are so confident self-driving cars are the way of the future, they want to dedicate an entire highway lane to them. CBC News reports that Madrona Venture Group, which is made up of several high profile tech industry experts, recently released a report proposing that at least one lane of the I-5 highway connecting Seattle and Vancouver be given over to autonomous cars.

The report addresses American and Canadian policymakers, arguing that self-driving cars will soon begin to take over the roads, and that dedicating an I-5 lane to them would make transportation easier between the two tech hubs. Madrona wants autonomous cars to begin by sharing an HOV lane with regular vehicles—as autonomous cars become more dominant, however, Madrona believes it will be necessary to give them exclusive use of an entire lane.

An autonomous car lane would make commuting more appealing and save money, Madrona says. Instead of spending money on expensive train tickets, or wasting hours behind the wheel of a car, commuters would be able to relax in the back of their own self-driving car or a shared taxi-style autonomous van. Additionally, Madrona argues, the autonomous car lane could serve as a cheap alternative to large-scale transportation projects, like the high-speed rail that has been proposed to connect Seattle and Vancouver.

Ultimately, Madrona argues, the autonomous lane could revolutionize commuting. "The principal benefit is that it allows drivers to recapture all the time otherwise spent behind the wheel,” the report explains. “This is at least two and one half hours from Seattle to Vancouver. Imagine being able to watch a video or sporting event, prepare for a business meeting, work on your novel or plan a game with your children."

[h/t CBC News]