As the Maps 3 streetcar project carves up downtown Oklahoma City and Bricktown, city officials are looking at what it would take to have driverless streetcars.
“That hasn't been done in the United States,” says Maps 3 program manager David Todd.
The city is pushing for a $6 million study to examine the feasibility of having autonomous streetcars on its nearly 5-mile long track from Bricktown to Midtown.
“It's a great opportunity to get OKC out in the forefront of the technology,” adds Todd. The technology is already in cars, but not street cars anywhere.
Todd thinks the year-long study, which would examine the equipment needed for the battery powered cars, may be partly paid for through federal grants.
When project construction is done late next year, Todd say you can expect to see someone behind the wheel of all seven street cars. However, the idea is that the cars can be retrofitted in the future.
The city council will still have to sign off on the study first, though.