PAVE: How is Mountain View preparing for AVs? What steps have you already taken?
Being the home of Google, now Waymo, the City of Mountain View is fortunate to have been part of the testing and deployment of AV’s for quite some time. Our initial focus was on communication. We met every two weeks with management and design teams to talk through issues and challenges. These conversations covered topics ranging from what to do when aggressive bicyclists and/or pedestrians attack their vehicle to how best to provide roadway feedback to our traffic engineering team. Over time, and because of the trust built and excellent communication, these meetings were pushed to once a month, then every 3 months, then twice a year and finally annually.
We have also taken a very open stance with companies developing this technology and open our doors to learn about law enforcement operations in general. Additionally we have provided the use of our emergency vehicles, sirens and lighting equipment to provide realistic testing scenarios. Because of our commitment to safety we will continue to provide this and any other assistance as requested.
PAVE: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your work with AVs?
After almost a decade of testing in Mountain View, we have learned quite a bit but it’s really hard to pick out the most important one when it comes to Law Enforcement operations and interaction. Some things that stand out are safety, communication and deep engagement as well as a change in perspective and forecasting.
- Safety — insisting on a safety focused culture throughout all phases of development and testing.
- Communication — creating and maintaining open lines of communication with law enforcement partners, 24/7 with company decision makers, to help mitigate potential issues related to public notification, identifying which entity will be the primary media contact during and after events, inquiries, etc.
- Engagement — 360 degree awareness of stakeholders and a commitment to listen, understand and respond.
- Change in perspective/forecasting — The use and popularity of AV’s has changed the way cities are planning. Changes to traffic flow management, parking/waiting, smart cities, even enforcement are just the start. How AV’s will ultimately change the landscape is not quite clear but cities have started to think through these issues. A great example of this is building parking structures in such a way that they can easily be converted to living spaces.
Initially our community was very concerned and even afraid of AV’s. Today most in our community are frustrated by the good driving behaviors of AV’s and seeing them around is common place. We got here with a focus on safety, a commitment to communication and real engagement.
PAVE: What AV deployments/tests have taken place in Mountain View?
Publicly I believe I can only speak to Waymo but there are a large number of AV companies developing and testing a variety of technologies throughout the area. Some are technologies mounted on regular vehicles meant to move people, others are specially developed vehicles for delivery and there are even small robot delivery companies currently testing and operating. It’s truly exciting times.
You can read more about the Mountain View Police Department at their website here: http://www.mvpd.gov/ or follow them on social media @MountainViewPD