Can Sacramento become self-driving car hub? Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé says yes

In a rambling essay touching on Apollo moonshots, his boyhood in India, horseless carriages, the Gold Rush and his NBA basketball team’s new arena, Sacramento Kings owner and tech mogul Vivek Ranadivé on April 19 revealed a new initiative aiming to make Sacramento a global center for development of self-driving cars.

“Soon enough, ‘self-driving cars’ will be driving alongside humans on our highways,” Ranadivé said in a Medium post.

“But this technology will never be a reality if autonomous vehicle manufacturers and developers do not work closely with government regulators, elected officials, community leaders, the private sector and universities to make it one.”

Ranadivé said he’s joined with U.S. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (a California Democrat) and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to create a public-private consortium called the Autonomous Transportation Open Standards Lab.

The lab will produce an open-source, “standardized and interoperable” platform for cities and private companies, he said.

“Sacramento — the capital of the sixth largest economy in the world — has a unique opportunity to serve as a platform for rapid deployment and demonstration of autonomous vehicles,” said Ranadivé, founder of Palo Alto software firm Tibco.

Among Sacramento’s advantages is the impending rollout of the first 5G high-capacity wireless internet system in any California city, which will provide developers with “the fastest possible wireless broadband platform to power new vehicles.”

“Few cities in the country have the diversity of terrain, climate and pavement required for the kind of comprehensive road testing car companies need.

“And even fewer have the deep community of technologists, manufacturers and academics willing to solve the toughest problems autonomous vehicles will face.”

Matsui indicated that the lab project would also involve actual robot cars on the capital city’s roads.

“Testing autonomous vehicles on our streets is a perfect example of how Sacramento is leading the way to a smarter, more connected future,” Matsui said in a press release.


Photo: Sacramento Kings NBA team owner Vivek Ranadivé, right, speaks with Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob during halftime in the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland in 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)


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