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Self-Driving Cars To Be Tested In Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- City officials announced a one-year partnership with the World Economic Forum Wednesday to bring self-driving cars to Boston.

The idea is thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, but the future is coming, and the city is getting ready.

After all, it's happening in other places--like in Pittsburgh, where Uber is testing cars designed to pick up and deliver passengers without a driver.

Mayor Marty Walsh told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens he's very interested to see what happens.

"Potentially, it could take 60-70 percent of cars off the road, and reduce human error in traffic and crashes and things like that," Walsh said.

But are driverless cars right for Boston's sometimes narrow, twisting, and congested streets?

"Some of the folks in my office are very excited talking about it, and I'm having debates with them on how can this happen, how can this be?" said Walsh. "We're gonna explore the conversation, and see what happens with having these vehicles out there."

Some Bostonians told WBZ-TV they thought it was a great idea.

"I think driverless cars are exciting, and the worst part about operating a vehicle is the driver," said one woman walking down Newbury Street Wednesday." There's a lot of terrible drivers out there."

Others think self driving cars are accidents waiting to happen.

"I think it would be incredibly dangerous to have driverless vehicles, just because it doesn't have the human reaction," said another man.

But that's the point--to remove the human equation and let the computer handle the job.

"Considering that there was just a report out, what was it, two days ago, that we have the worst drivers in the country, maybe driverless is better than driver," said a woman in the Back Bay.

And since Boston is a technology leader, the city thinks the cars of the future could be a good fit.

"Driverless cars, I feel like it's amazing because we're taking a step towards the future of technology," said a young man on Newbury Street.

Walsh is interested to see how the cars might fit into his Go Boston 2030 initiative to re-imagine the city's transportation future.

There may also be a role for local universities to play in preparing Boston for a driverless future.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

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