Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Along for the Ride: Driverless Cars, Pairing Ride-Hailing with Public Transit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Along for the Ride: Driverless Cars, Pairing Ride-Hailing with Public Transit

Article excerpt

Outside the Urban Land Institute in the Central West End, a Tesla SP90D electric car started, drove about 15 feet, stopped and turned off with no one in the driver's seat.

It then restarted and backed up to its original spot, all controlled by a key fob held by Cam Sneathen, manager of the Tesla dealership in University City.

Such a maneuver is known as "summoning" the car, a move closer toward fully driverless vehicles that could change the way we get around in the coming decades.

That was Thursday, the same day a survey by J.D. Power came out stating that when "making the leap to fully automated cars, trust in the technology is directly linked to the age of the consumer."

Such a finding isn't unexpected when asking questions about unfamiliar technology. But the support among younger people for driverless cars is no doubt a strong indicator of where the future of driving, or of being driven, may lead.

More than half of vehicle owners born since 1977 say they trust self-driving technology, the survey found. Just 23 percent of baby boomers said the same thing, and only 18 percent of those older than the boomers were on board with the idea.

Before the Tesla demonstration, a panel inside Urban Land Institute in the Cortex Innovation District talked about the role of technology in transportation's future, including autonomous vehicles.

Greg Stubblefield, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of Enterprise Holdings, said that based on what he's heard, the first use of a true driverless car likely won't happen until about 2021, and then in only a confined test space. Commercial uses for the cars could happen around 2030.

"There's mapping that has to be done, there's all sorts of technology that has to be there in a real time basis," Stubblefield said. "There are a whole lot of things that are taking place. There's no shortage of money and innovation going into that, so it's going to happen."

The panel also touched on how technology and ride-hailing could shape public transit, an expensive service to provide in the spread- out St. …

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