Thus far, relationships between cities and self-driving vehicle developers have been cheery, with officials clamoring for techies’ attention and then easing their way to public tests once they arrive. But San Francisco’s gambit indicates you can’t expect that easy-going approach to last everywhere, or for much longer.
“Local officials are always going to be responsive to the people within their cities. They want to make sure they’re being responsive if community members have concerns,” says Brooks Rainwater, who oversees the National League of Cities’ Center for City Solutions. “These things take time, for people to be fully comfortable with rapid leaps in how we get around.” And yes, people have concerns: about safety, jobs, hacking threats.