This Alaskan city is known for its extreme weather, which can be a challenge for autonomous vehicles. Anchorage recorded over 100 inches of snow in the winter of 2014-15 and is prone to earthquakes. This can cause issues for connected cars, which rely on GPS to operate.
You won’t have to go far to find compact, parallel and perpendicular parking in Boston, but it’ll be a completely different story getting into them. When it comes to tight spots, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled. If you’re able, try to park somewhere where your vehicle can fit without the need for reversing; that way, when you return later on in the evening (most likely after dark), there will be less potential for damage.
Minneapolis, Minnesota; the city of lakes, is a great place to be if you’re looking for a slice of urban living surrounded by lush green spaces. The city has been praised for having mature bike and walking infrastructure that prioritizes those without vehicles.
The last thing Minneapolitans want to see is someone in a car driving through crosswalks, ignoring parking signs and blocking intersections. You know why? Because that person would probably get punched in the face by one of the many pedestrians annoyed at their lack of respect for all things traffic- or lane-related.
Seriously though, Minneapolis has an extensive grid system which makes it easy to navigate, even if a driver suddenly loses their sense of direction or gets distracted on their phone. It also has an extensive number of pedestrian walkways (more than New York City) which are well maintained and clean throughout the winter months when they are vital to foot traffic—remember how I mentioned that people like walking here?
If you’re not familiar with Minneapolis’s streets and walking patterns, then don’t try to drive here. Just don’t do it! There is no reason you should risk your life because there are so many other ways to get around this city even without owning your own vehicle: Buses, bikes and taxis are all safe options! Don’t believe me? Check out this report from Mother Jones magazine that named Minneapolis as one of America’s best cities for biking
You’re driving through a city with an expansive freeway system and old, narrow roads. In addition to the unpredictable, changing weather that makes driving difficult year-round, you also have to contend with potholes during the spring and summer months. There’s also road construction on many of those old streets and inconsistent signage throughout the city. On top of all of this, you face heavy traffic at rush hour.
This may sound like your daily commute in any American city, but it’s actually just one reason why Milwaukee is one of the most challenging cities for autonomous vehicles (AVs). It is a city of extremes: from narrow roads Downtown to wide-open freeways along Lake Michigan. That means AV developers would need to build software capable of handling all types of situations that could arise on Milwaukee-area roads—no small feat considering how different urban environments can be from place to place.
As a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, you’re probably well aware that your city’s roads are in rough shape. The pavement is full of cracks and potholes, many of which were created by the harsh winters that plague the city.
Indeed, the temperature extremes in Cleveland can be particularly difficult for autonomous cars to cope with. In its autonomous driving systems, Google uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors to create 3D maps of the terrain where it’s testing its self-driving cars. LIDAR doesn’t function as well when there’s snow or fog on the ground—and therefore can’t create an accurate map of what lies ahead. This is one reason why Google has tested its self-driving cars only in California so far—the state has moderate weather conditions all year long, as opposed to places like New York City or Chicago where there are sometimes more than 200 inches of snow every winter!
The top 5 worst cities for autonomous driving include Anchorage, Boston, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Cleveland.
- Boston (worst city)
- Closely packed downtown street grid
- Narrow Streets
- Pedestrian-heavy streets with ample room for walking
- Anchorage, Alaska (2nd worst)
- Lots of snow and ice on roads makes it harder to navigate and see
- Minneapolis, Minnesota (3rd worst)
- Covered in ice for about 3 months per year. The rest of the time is spent repairing potholes or road damage from seasons past. Slow traffic due to this.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin (4th worst)
- Lots of snow and ice on roads makes it harder to navigate and see. Also can be the victim of extreme temperature changes which causes cracks in concrete and asphalt that cause additional traffic disruptions during repairs. Because of this, drivers need to be aware at all times so that they can navigate through these issues as they appear. Just like you would if you were driving yourself! This also means that autonomous vehicles will need to be able to detect/avoid/communicate with other cars as well as pedestrians – something they are not yet capable of doing safely according to current research data.
Let’s face it. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get the car to drive itself on I-95, no matter how many times you say “drive yourself.”
It’s a problem that affects the entire country and is one of our most pressing issues today. So it was with a heavy heart and a sigh of resignation that we came up with this list, in hopes that it might help you understand why your car can’t (and won’t ever) drive itself.
The Top 5 Worst Cities for Autonomous Driving
5. Portland, OR
This place is so weird! Every time we get on the road here, our self-driving cars start doing things like waving at people who aren’t there and shouting out the window about how much they love the Grateful Dead.
4. Detroit, MI
It’s not for nothing that this city is known as “Motor City.” You see, the cars here actually have minds of their own, and they never want to let their owners out of the car—like, ever. It’s just not safe for us to let our cars roam free here.
3. New York City, NY
If you’ve ever been to NYC, then you know why we’re on this list
If you’re thinking about buying a self-driving car, or maybe you’ve already bought one and you’re trying to decide where your next road trip should be, let us tell you about the cities where these kinds of vehicles are not your friend.
The truth is, there are a lot of places in the world that aren’t exactly suited for autonomous driving. Some of them don’t have the infrastructure in place, which means it’s going to be a while before they’ll even be able to accommodate self-driving cars. And others are just… unpredictable.
So if you’re thinking about buying one of those fancy new autonomous cars, here are the top five worst cities for them (in no particular order):
[city]: They don’t have any street signs at all! The streets are organized by color and pattern, but aside from that there is simply no way to identify where you are in [city]. If you plan on visiting [city], we recommend leaving your car behind.
[city]: The topography in [city] is so harsh that most streets are only accessible by foot or dirt bike. There is no way that an autonomous car could make it through this city’s mountains and valleys—even if it could figure out how to get there
Self-driving cars are awesome. They can’t get drunk, they don’t fall asleep at the wheel, and they’re okay with driving you to Taco Bell at 4 in the morning.
But there’s a reason we haven’t made these things mandatory yet. And that’s because they’re not perfect. While you may feel safer with a self-driving car on the highway than you would with a regular car, you’re probably not going to want one in some of these cities.
Here are the 5 worst cities for autonomous vehicles:
1. Dushanbe, Tajikistan: The roads here are notoriously bumpy, and potholes, unpaved surfaces and rough terrain all wreak havoc on your self-driving car’s ability to get you where you need to go safely and without unwanted jostles.
2. New York City: The streets here are just too unpredictable for your self-driving car to be able to handle it correctly. Things happen too fast! You can’t even cross the street without getting hit by a cab or nearly being killed by an errant bike messenger. Your autonomous vehicle simply can’t keep up with this kind of chaos.
3. Dubai: The roads here are so wide that your self-driving
You might have heard that self-driving cars are safer than human drivers. They can process information faster, and they don’t get distracted.
But it isn’t all peaches and cream for self-driving cars out there—sometimes they struggle just as much as we do! We pulled together some of the cities where autonomous vehicles have had a hard time getting around and did our best to explain why.
5. London, UK: Roundabouts Everywhere!
As Americans, roundabouts can be pretty confusing. People drive on the left side of the road, and your GPS might tell you to go straight when you actually need to go right. Self-driving cars have a similar problem. The only difference is that their GPS gets confused by roundabouts too. So self-driving cars have a hard time adjusting to the hectic traffic patterns in London’s roundabouts. Perhaps this explains why so many autonomous vehicles are seen doing laps around these traffic circles when they aren’t even sure what direction they’re supposed to be headed in!
4. New York City, New York: Pedestrians Everywhere!
The Big Apple is one of America’s most crowded cities, which means pedestrians are everywhere. Sadly, self-driving cars aren’t always able to pick up
If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we’re obsessed with all things self-driving cars. We’ve written about the best cities for autonomous driving, the future of transportation, and how to prepare for the day when self-driving cars are the new normal.
Well, today is going to be a little different.
Today we’re not talking about where we need to go from here: we’re talking about where we already are. And there’s something very important you need to know: some places just aren’t ready. That’s right: some cities are so far behind on their autonomous driving game that they might as well be on another planet (but don’t worry—we’ll get there too). So what exactly makes a city bad for autonomous driving? Today we’ll discuss this in depth and tell you which cities didn’t make the cut.
What makes a city bad for self-driving cars? You might think it’s as simple as whether or not there’s good infrastructure and clear signage. But it’s so much more than that.
There’s no doubt about it—we’re moving toward a world where autonomous driving will play a major role. But for those of us who don’t live in the suburbs and have to deal with city traffic every day, there’s a lot of anxiety about what self-driving cars will mean for us. So we decided to take a closer look at some cities that might not be ready for autonomous driving.
We looked at the following criteria:
· Traffic: How much traffic is there? Is it stop-and-go? Is there a lot of congestion during rush hour? The more traffic, the more likely there is to be an accident, and the more likely that accidents will involve pedestrians or cyclists.
· Road quality: Does the city have good road quality? Are the roads well maintained? Is there pothole damage?
· Pedestrian volume: How many people walk in this city on a daily basis? Are they jaywalking or are they following traffic laws? Are they walking on sidewalks or walking in the street?
· Cyclist volume: How many people cycle in this city on a daily basis? Do they wear helmets and reflective clothing? Do they cycle on dedicated bike lanes or on sidewalks and streets?
If you think the only thing standing between you and your autonomous driving dreams is a little more R&D, think again. The truth is, sometimes it’s not even worth it to try out your new AV—and by “sometimes,” we mean all the time.
Here are five places where self-driving cars should be banned for the safety and well-being of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians everywhere.