Massachusetts is the latest state to open up more research on self-driving cars and testing the tech on its roads.
Last month, 15 Massachusetts cities got the go-ahead to open up its roads for self-driving cars, including Boston and Arlington. This move is calculated, being instated after a half-year of tragedy and controversy when it comes to the technology and its interactions with public roads and pedestrians.
Partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, regions will create standardized processes for phased testing, allowing companies to take advantage of the state’s diverse terrain, road quality, and weather. As a result, self-driving companies like nuTonomy and Optimus Ride are expected to expand outside of its current testing operations in the Seaport District.
“If we plan our cities for people, that’s who will benefit,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone in an interview. “But if we plan our communities for the automobile, we’re going to be a car-centric society for a lot longer than we should be and the impacts will be negative over the long haul. So, having new, cleaner options for mobility is going to benefit everyone.”
Many spectators have also seen Massachusetts testing as a middle ground between Arizona’s formerly lax and open-ended policy and California’s stricter standards.