WESTMINSTER, Md. — Maryland may be at the forefront of a brand new industry. The entire project has been the brainchild of the autonomous nonprofit organization Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC).
MAGIC started its exciting endeavor in May of 2021 in downtown Westminster, Maryland. Since then, it has worked relentlessly on various fronts to execute a perfect infrastructure for driverless vehicles.
The very first task that MAGIC has done is scanning the potential routes in downtown areas of Westminster, and that will be an Autonomous Corridor for AI-enabled 3D-printed driverless shuttles. To execute that task, they collaborated with Dynamic Dimensions Technologies (DDT), another organization specializing in similar projects.
According to the sources published in Insurance Journal, the proposed routes will connect YMCA, Carroll Lutheran Village (a retirement community), McDaniel College, and Carroll Community College to downtown Westminster.
In November of 2021, the Executive Director of MAGIC, Graham Dodge, organized a press conference where he explained their process. According to him, they are locating an 11-mile-long corridor in the downtown area where these vehicles would be providing service.
They would develop a program with the minute details of that corridor where maneuvering for these driverless cars will be extremely easy. The target is to connect the students and retired downtown community with the city.
After thorough consideration of the impact of the project on the local community, the company believes a slow yet perfect result should be their goal.
The very next task was the constant test. As of now, the team of engineers is impressed with the performance of these vehicles. Generally, they allow the cars to drive all by themselves while engineers sit in the driver’s seat, in case of emergency. However, as of now, autopilot mode worked amazingly, and they never took control of the autopilot.
The team is testing the efficiency and effectiveness of the vehicles in crowded 4-ways highway routes, narrow lanes, and crowded areas.
Engineers were amazed to see in a particular sudden emergency when a cat was crossing the road; the vehicle stopped automatically after detecting the cat. As of now, the entire team of engineers is satisfied with the safety issues of these vehicles.
Despite the overwhelming success, going completely driverless is not an option that the government is considering right now.
Part of the reason for the indecision stems from a recent fatal accident involving a Tesla driverless car. Insurance companies have struggled to determine who would be at fault and would compensate victims during an auto-pilot crash.
However, even that dispute is also going to resolve and many insurance companies are agreeing to cover self-driven cars as well.
Therefore, it is just a matter of time when from shuttles to couriers many different services will be completely self-driven on the roads of Marylands.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) shared the Maryland Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) Strategic Framework during a June 2021 webinar. The Government of Maryland appears pretty optimistic about the possibilities of that service, and they are investing resources in technological advancement.
Though, the successful implementation of that automated technology would be a nightmare for a huge workforce who might lose their jobs.
Henceforth, along with the successful implementation of that revolutionary technology, the Government of Maryland also needs to develop a rehabilitation package for those who would lose their jobs.
As of now, the government is considering providing training to existing drivers who will be driving these autonomous vehicles, and they are not intending to shift in hurry.
Though it is statistically proven that, unlike human-driven cars, driverless cars have rarely if ever hit pedestrians or other vehicles. Still, the government intends for relatively slow progress on that project.
Though these driverless vehicles never had any record of severe accidents, critics say there needs to be more substantial data to introduce driverless vehicles on the road of Maryland.
As far as the people of Maryland are concerned they can expect a future with autonomous vehicles first, and gradually they will be replaced by driverless cars.
The government is looking for a transit system that is accessible and affordable for every section of society. Driverless cars are one of the only solutions to that crisis, and Marylanders can hopefully expect that as a form of relief in the near future.
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