San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, along with mayors from six other US cities, on Thursday vied for a chance to make the city, the first to fully integrate self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors into their transportation network and receive federal and private funding for the effort.
The US Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge lays stress on elimination or greatly reducing congestion, traffic fatalities and carbon emissions, and driverless cars had a big part to play in realising that goal.
In his pitch to the Department of Transportation in Washington DC on Thursday, Lee said 12 companies were currently testing autonomous vehicles in the Bay Area.
The challenge aimed to inspire and incentivise US cities into upgrading their infrastructure and making their roadways more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly.
The city, which would win the challenge would receive up to $40 million in funding to connect transportation assets into an interactive network, plus millions more from private US sponsors such as Amazon web services, Microsoft, AT&T, Autodesk as also Israel-based Mobileye.
Though the city was transportation rich, it had some immense issues and challenges, according to Timothy Papandreou, chief innovation officer at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com reported.
He added that in addition to vehicular congestion and a paucity of transportation options for disabled individuals, ''too many people are getting hit by cars and they're getting killed.''
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's application for the Smart City Challenge grant calls for a series of transportation spines, traffic signals that would prioritise transit and freight vehicles, as also an ''electric avenue'' between Downtown and Hazelwood for driverless vehicles charged at solar power stations.
Furthermore, to oversee the massive series of transportation projects, the city had proposed the SmartPGH Consortium, a coalition of government, education, transportation, foundation, utility and major freight operators.
The cities in the fray for the funding are: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon and San Francisco California.