Photo via Google Driverless Car video.
Photo via Google Driverless Car video.

It may soon not just be a celebrity you spot behind the wheel of a car at a stoplight in Beverly Hills — it may be no one.

The city announced Friday that it has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to become a test site for autonomous vehicles as part of its plan to work toward operating a municipal fleet of driverless cars for mass transit.

“Beverly Hills should be a policy leader in this emerging technology,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said. “As an employment center and tourist destination, Beverly Hills has more than its share of regional traffic; and many traffic, safety and parking problems can be solved with AVs, especially when used as a form of public transportation.”

Fully driverless vehicles are not yet legal in California, but 20 companies, including Google and Tesla, have been issued permits by the DMV to test them.

The Beverly Hills City Council passed a resolution in April supporting the city implementing AVs for mass transit, and the city is also laying fiber optic cable, which it says will greatly enhance AV communications.

As a result of the efforts to roll out the red carpet, Beverly Hills was named one of the top ten cities in the world for autonomous vehicles by 2025AD.com, a website dedicated to automated driving.

If selected as a test site, Beverly Hills would need to get a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, set up a testing area and work with companies developing AV technology, the city said.

–City News Service

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