Although the current “Taxi of Tomorrow” is an improvement on the standard yellow cab, Mobileye, an Israeli company, is working to introduce semi-autonomous elements to NYC’s tax fleet.
Mobileye has developed a mono camera that sits on the dash of a vehicle. The device can provide forward collision warnings, pedestrian and bicycle collision warnings, lane departure warnings, following time advisement, smart high beam control and a speed limit indicator. Mobileye is working with MTA, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission and Ambu-Trans to bring its technology to more vehicles in New York City.
A small digital device sits on the dashboard of the vehicle and emits a small ding to alert drivers to issues. In the future, the system could even operate certain vehicle actions, similar to the way many cars are able to self-park. Automobile manufacturers are beginning to integrate Mobileye technology and it is already being used by BMW and GM on certain vehicle models.
Success for companies like Mobileye could complicate NYC transit reform plans. Currently, many transportation reformers are calling for decreased reliance on cars all together. NYC Council Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez recently detailed an ambitious plan to take 400,000 cars off the road by 2030, and Move NY, the grassroots set of transit reforms favored by the City Council also prioritizes public transportation and toll reform.
One of Rodriguez’ chief complaints about the city’s car population is that congestion is not just a nuisance, but a public danger. In 2014, the city implemented a significant Vision Zero change, reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour. Since then, there has been a 26 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities, making the number the lowest it’s been since record-keeping began.
The safety reforms of Mobileye could alleviate those concerns. The company has already proven that it can reduce accidents by 39 percent. When only including driver-caused accidents, number of accidents is reduced by 50 percent.
Already the Taxi and Limousine Commission has equipped 20 official city cabs and limousines with Mobileye technology, and is currently gathering data about performance.