Driverless Cars Okayed in Johnson County, What Now?

Jul 31, 2014

Driverless cars could hit the roads in Johnson County within the next few years. 

That's according to Daniel McGehee, Director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Research Safety Lab at the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center. "We're working to try and bring some of these totally driverless cars to the county; we've been testing level 2 semi-autonomous cars already." 

A censor that allows the car to park itself and detect when a driver is veering from his/her own lane
Credit Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Last Thursday, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous proclamation welcoming these vehicles to county roads. Mark Nolte serves as President of the Iowa City Area Development Group. He hopes the move will lure automakers and jobs to the area. "Right now these cars are being tested in California. We have four seasons in a week here in Iowa, and we have less congestion." 

During this River to River interview, Ben Kieffer talks with McGehee, Nolte and law professor Bryant Walker Smith about driverless cars, and the legal problems that crop up when human drivers aren't the ones in total control.