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I-380 to be used to test automated vehicles

Interstate 380 at Wilson Avenue exit, Sept. 27, 2016 (KCRG-TV9)
Interstate 380 at Wilson Avenue exit, Sept. 27, 2016 (KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: Oct. 11, 2016 at 7:43 PM CDT
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Michael Miller is a truck driver, who makes deliveries across the country. He hopes to never see any driver-less freights or vehicles next to him on I-380, or any other roads.

He says, "[Law enforcement is] always on us about what we got to do to be safe, and not be safe, but if they put something out here that's going to drive itself, who is going to have to be in control of that? A computer? A computer messes up more than humans do.”

Officials from the Iowa DOT disagree with Miller. They say the computerized vehicles and freights will have HD maps in them that will constantly update road conditions. and they will always know what's ahead. They will test the vehicles out on I-380 between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City sometime next year. They say they picked that area because of the high volume of freight traffic.

Scott Marler from the DOT says, "Imagine a future where vehicles aren't crashing, where you understand what's happening over the next hill and around the next cur. Things we can't see today. The vehicles will know what's coming ahead. We think it will help freight move more efficiently, and we think it certainly is going to keep people safer, which is certainly where we're focused."

Marler says studies have shown that most accidents are human error. He explains, “More than 94 percent of crashes are tied into some type of driver error and driver choice, so with these technologies we also know the potential to reduce crashes are more than 80 percent.”

Miller is worried that the automated vehicles will hurt the trucking industry. He says, "This is all I know how to do. You take this away from me, what else am I going to do?”