Our network

Fayette official: We'll try out driverless car | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Fayette official: We'll try out driverless car
Fayette official: We'll try out driverless car

FAYETTE COUNTY, GA – A new survey shows three out of four Americans wouldn't mind having a driverless or autonomous car.

Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown wants a lot of them.

"We've had auto pilot airplanes forever and we knew eventually it was going to come to cars," Brown told 11Alive News on Monday.

With his hands firmly on the wheel of his car, Brown said he believes driverless cars will soon be a reality on America's roads and he wants to steer them to his area.

Unlike more crowded parts of metro Atlanta, Brown believes Fayette County has just the right mix of state highways, neighborhoods and back roads to host the nation's first major test program.

"If you're going to test a vehicle, one thing you need is a lot of movement, a lot of test driving; we would have that," he said.

He made his public offer last week, about the same time Johnson County, Iowa made a similar public offer to the autonomous car industry.

Brown hopes those technicians and others in the hands off car movement pick his turf.

"We would be a laboratory not only for doing the technology end of it, but also for the regulatory end of it because the Federal Highway Administration and Georgia DOT are still trying to figure out how to regulate this," he added.

He also believes a test program would bring highly skilled jobs to his area without the need for expensive transportation improvements like more roads or high speed rail.

"The vehicle is where all the money is going and the private industry is doing the vehicles so it's a huge cost savings from that perspective," Brown said.

11Alive's quick survey of some local Fayette County drivers found most liked the concept.

"I think it's a good idea; I think it's something that's gonna happen in the future," said driver Robert Jones.

"I think it's be great actually, I mean, there's a lot of people out here who really don't know how to drive, so that might even help us out a little bit," added Jeremiah Isles.

But driver Carol Hunter is still worried about potential glitches.

"Computer technology is not 100%, so should one of them malfunction and there's nobody in the car, then what?" she wondered.

Brown said public response to his idea has been overwhelmingly positive, but he has yet to hear anyone from the driverless car industry take him up on his invitation.