Is Massachusetts Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

For Karl Iagnemma, Thursday was a good day.

Iagnemma is co-founder of Nutonomy, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, creating software for self-driving cars.

"The technology is coming sooner than we think," he said. "We won't wake up one day and every car on the road self-driving, it will be a gradual introduction into the fleet."


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Thursday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh signed executive orders that will lead to a general framework to allow companies to test self-driving cars on the road in the Bay State.

"Boston and Massachusetts are really laying the groundwork for companies like Nutomomy to start to develop this technology right here in Massachusetts," Iagnemma said.

Currently, Nutonomy tests its software inside cabs in Singapore. Under these new executive orders, the company hopes to conduct those tests right here.

"We are excited, we look forward to start working with the city and the state so we can start testing our software right here in Massachusetts as soon as possible," he added.

In Boston on Thursday, reaction was mixed.

"What happens if the system has a haywire and a car doesn't stop at a red light at a major intersection?" asked Eric Joseph.

"I think it is much more convenient if everyone has a self-driving car," Lance Domine said.

"I trust computers more than people, absolutely," Mary Flexor said. "People would do the speed limit, people wouldn't cut each other off, and kids on bikes wouldn't get killed."

Under the order, the state will create a committee to study possible laws. In Boston, Mayor Walsh appointed his transportation head to study the issue.

"It is hard to invest in a state if there is uncertainty around the regulatory landscape," Iagnemma said. "This is an important step towards bringing clarity towards that landscape."

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