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Driverless Cars

Friday’s Headlines: Dog Is My Co-Pilot Edition

Driverless cars ... and other news.

Photo: Mobileye, an Intel Company|

A self-driving vehicle from Mobileye’s autonomous test fleet passes New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in June 2021. Mobileye tests its technology in complex urban areas in preparation for future driverless services.

Everyone was freaking out yesterday about driverless cars, which the city revealed are going to be tested on our mean streets (NYDN, amNY).

Of course, Streetsblog readers have seen this coming for a long time. We've been covering the issue since 2021, so let's not pretend we're all shocked (shocked!) that there's gambling going on at Rick's.

Mayor Adams is right — driverless cars are coming, so we do have to prepare for them. But here's where Mayor Adams and his tech bros are wrong: Whether there's a driver or not, cars stink. Yes, driverless cars will eliminate the selfishness, recklessness, impatience, and inebriation that afflict so many human drivers (like this one), but the problem with cars isn't who's behind the wheel. The problem is the car itself.

Think about our world since we started bowing down to the demon wheel in the early part of the last century: We have sacrificed our lungs and our children's lives. We have impoverished our public spaces. We have eviscerated our ears and dispirited our eyes. We have diverted billions from transit. We have become the world leaders in sprawl.

Driverless cars may — may — reduce some of the danger of cars, but not the domination of the car.

So count us as skeptics.

In other news:

  • The mayor is YIMBY. (NY Post)
  • He's also wacky. Announcing the certain-to-fail gun screening subway radar, Mayor Adams said, "This is our Sputnik moment. Like when Kennedy said we’re going to put a man on the moon … Let’s bring on the scanners.” Let's bring on the scanners? (NY Post, NY Times, amNY, Hell Gate being definitive as always)
  • Speaking of Hell Gate, we appreciated the outlet's tally of "winners and losers" of congestion pricing. Loser: Whoopi Goldberg, of course.
  • And on that topic, foes of congestion pricing, which aims to reduce pollution, plan to use the state's so-called "Green Amendment" to block it. (Politico)
  • Here's a terrible story from CBS News blaming Vision Zero for increases in road fatalities that are more likely due to more driving, post-pandemic recklessness and not enough local funding. It's pretty easy to document that New York City, at least, is a lot safer because of Vision Zero. Is it perfect? No. But it's much better.
  • Four presidents were doing self-serving things in New York yesterday, but, in fairness, former President Trump was the only one doing something useful, attending the wake for Police Officer Jonathan Diller, who was killed by an ex-con during a traffic stop. (NY Times)
  • Gothamist and Streetsblog looked into the Queens greenway being taken over by car drivers.
  • And, finally, let's go, Mets! If you're trying to reach us after 1:40 p.m. today, please leave a message on our office voicemail.

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