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Austin City Leaders Pave the Way for Self-Driving Cars

AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin leaders have welcomed self-driving cars with open arms, as several companies use the city to test the new technology.

The Austin City Council wants to take car sharing to a whole new level, especially as the advent of autonomous vehicles is right around the corner. Several manufacturers are promising to bring a self-driving car to market by 2020.

City leaders passed a resolution that would be paving the way for creating an autonomous and electric vehicle division within the city of Austin.

The idea is to be able to focus them on making sure to expand the opportunities for electric vehicles and also autonomous vehicles throughout the city in the next couple of years.

--Possible Goals: --

  • Having a chief officer of electric and autonomous vehicles within the Department of Transportation

  • Expanding the city's different charging stations

--What's Next:--

Right now city leaders say Austin Energy has about 500 plus charging stations located throughout the city.

They would like to see that grow even more with more ability for people to drop a car off and let it charge.

The process would be similar to how Car2Go operates right now but also with that electric vehicle backbone.

Eventually more places downtown, especially in the urban core of Austin, would be able to be built for putting people either for work or housing rather than to park and store cars.

It is estimated that it cost about $70,000 to build a parking space downtown.

"This is what should be concerning to anyone. Those investments for 15, probably 70 year investments when you think about the concrete and the architectural elements that going into disguising garages so that we don't have to deal with that blight," said Robert Spillar, of the Austin Transportation Department.

The city of Austin has already been making headway nationally and internationally during the last couple of years by allowing itself to be a testing ground for the autonomous vehicles.

The cars have been seen driving around in the Miller development and other parts in Austin as they try to test the different technologies from different companies. The city hopes to have a plan back before them in mid-June.

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