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Portland launches self-driving car initiative, wants pilot program by end of year

In this photo provided by General Motors a self-driving car is seen in Detroit. General Motors is trying to persuade state lawmakers across the country to pass legislation that would clear the way for the automaker to make self-driving cars publicly available while potentially barring GM’s competitors from putting their own vehicles on the road. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced the city has launched a new initiative to pave the way for self-driving cars.

Their goal is to get the autonomous cars on the road before the year's end. Mayor Wheeler said taking human error out of driving will help combat traffic deaths and clear up congestion.

He added when it comes to self-driving cars, it's not a question of "if," it's "when."

“Portland’s long history of transportation innovation is about to enter a new chapter,” Wheeler said. “My goal is to have an autonomous vehicle pilot program in Portland, working for Portlanders, by the end of the year. To the inventors, investors and innovators, I’m here to say that Portland is open for business. By working with private industry, we can make sure that cutting edge technology expands access to public transit and reduces pollution and congestion.”

Portland's Bureau of Transportation will take up reigns on the initiative, crafting legislative framework to introduce self-driving cars as quickly and easily as possible.

Read more about PBOT's Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI) here.

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