Auto-pilot autos: Cars that drive themselves are advancing

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch tells audiences that it’s possible that his children, 1-year-old twins, will never have to drive automobiles.

Cars that drive themselves are under development by Google and Stanford University, and PennDOT plans a study with Carnegie Mellon University, another leader in developing so-called “autonomous cars” of the implications of the technology on transportation policy.

Google’s self-driving car is a big hit at a transportation conference in Texas, reports Gordon Dickson of the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth. Here’s his story from Monday.

In another technological advance, the Pennsylvania Turnpike has announced that free wireless Internet is now available at all service plazas.

“Turnpike service plazas are no longer just a quick stop for gas,” said Jack Christensen, turnpike director of facilities and energy management operations, in a news release. “They offer a range of amenities like nationally known and regional food brands, comfortable seating areas, clean restrooms — and now free wireless internet access.”

If you haven’t driven the pike for a while, you might not know that 12 of 17 plazas have been rebuilt (with two more to be completed this spring) in a $100 million public-private partnership of the turnpike and HMSHost Corp. More information about the service plazas is here.

roadworkaheadA $2 million project to upgrade the interchange of Route 22 and Route 980-Potato Garden Road in North Fayettebegan Monday, with closure of the bridge that carries a ramp from Route 980 to eastbound Route 22. The bridge, which passes over the Montour Trail, will be closed through late August, PennDOT said. Access from Old Steubenville Pike to eastbound Route 22 will be maintained. Detours are posted.


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