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CDOT will experiment with self-driving cars on a stretch of I-70. Will it work?

As the rate of deadly car accidents continues to rise in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is looking at a surprising potential solution to help decrease fatalities. The solution? Take drivers out of the equation. CDOT is partnering with Panasonic to test self-driving cars on a 90-mile stretch of Interstate 70.

While no deadline for the test is in place, CDOT hopes that a successful test will lead to a broader implementation of V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) technology. These technologies, which work together to create an autonomous driving network that, are the backbone of any true "self-driving" system.

Through this partnership (which will work in conjunction with CDOT's larger RoadX program), CDOT aims to minimize or eliminate fatalities, increase the efficiency of transportation in Colorado, and streamline navigation for everyone on the road.

But are driverless cars really safer?

While many people are quick to point out the benefits of self-driving cars, an important question remains - are autonomous cars actually safe? While there have been some documented accidents (and a fatality) associated with driverless cars, early data appears to show that the answer is "yes." However, there is not enough data to draw a firm conclusion, so test programs such as the one being conducted by CDOT and Panasonic are an important step toward getting a final answer.

There are other considerations as well. New potential dangers of driverless cars, other than "will the computer be smart enough to apply the brakes when needed?" have recently been discussed. Questions such as "can driverless cars be hacked?" are so important that the U.S. Department of Justice is considering taking a closer look into this issue.

The future of driving in Colorado?

Whether just for a test phase or for the long term, driverless cars are on their way to our state. Whether they stick around or not, be sure to remain vigilant on any Colorado road.

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