Jennifer van der Kleut
Many experts have said one of the biggest concerns with introducing self-driving cars into society is mixing them on the same streets with human-driven cars.
That’s one of the main reasons why North Dakota native Marlo Anderson says he is working with the Central North American Trade Corridor Association (CNATCA) to develop his idea for an “autonomous highway” that would stretch from Canada to Mexico.
Anderson’s “Autonomous Friendly Corridor” would actually make use of an already-existing highway that he says is widely underused–U.S. Highway 83.
Highway 83 runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In the north, it crosses the border into Manitoba, and it ends at Mexico in the south.
Anderson told Transport Topics he hopes to test his idea in 2017 by riding in an autonomous vehicle from Bismarck, North Dakota to Pierre, South Dakota.
Anderson also said he and the CNATCA are working to create a coalition between the six states Highway 83 passes through and Canada to help make the Autonomous Friendly Corridor a reality.
“It’s pretty strong now between Canada and North Dakota,” Anderson told Transport Topics. “This will set a footprint for the rest of the country to follow.”
Anderson told KFYR-TV that he believes the corridor will not only help the move toward driverless technology to progress, but will also help alleviate general transportation issues in the U.S.
Anderson explained, the bulk of the American highway system is designed to help move people and goods between the east and west–but traveling north and south is much more of a challenge.
“Going North to South is very very difficult. We feel the autonomous corridor would alleviate some of that strain of moving North and South,” he said.
KFYR explained that with the Autonomous Friendly Corridor, unmanned cars would be able to deliver goods, and landport stations would be situated every 200 miles for re-fueling and unloading cargo.
In addition, “Drones could come in, pick up packages and move them to another location too. So this landport is kind of a new concept that we’ve been tossing around too, and there’s a lot of interest in that as well,” said CNATCA Treasurer Dave Blair.
The Autonomous Friendly Corridor is being dubbed a “visionary project” by planners.