Caltrans begins modifying roads for self-driving cars

In yet another sign of the rapid advance of self-driving technology, California has already started adapting roads for autonomous vehicles, a new report says.

Because autonomous and semi-autonomous cars use cameras to “see” road markings, those markings are being changed, Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty told KPCC Southern California Public Radio.

“All of our lane lines are going to get thicker,” Dougherty said, according to the station.

“Today our lane lines are only four inches thick. Now every lane line we lie down going forward is going to be six inches thick. I’ve already started to see some of this transition.”

Another roadway modification concerns the rounded Botts’ Dots that mark lane divisions and make cars go bump when they’re driven over.

“The automated vehicles (AVs) can follow lane lines,” Dougherty said.

“They can’t follow the Botts’ Dots, so we’re actually changing our delineation standards to go away from the Botts’ Dots which we’ve been using for decades because AVs have a difficult time following those.”

To make California’s 50,000 lane miles of road robot-car ready, the new markings will be put down during construction projects and the regular re-striping of roadways, Dougherty said.

“I would say we would at least prioritize the interstates and freeways and have that done in the next two or three years,” he said.


Photo: A self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan from Google spin-off Waymo (courtesy of Waymo)


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  • freedom1mac

    So that’s were our taxpayer money is going to redo the roads for autonomous and semi-autonomous cars! Costing millions of dollars just to keep up the maint. on this type of technology! Which we do not want in the first place. So they raise are taxes and then tell us they don’t have enough money to fix the roads. The other thing there is an unelected board call SACOG that is wasting millions if not billions of taxpayer money! All of Congress should be fired and Jerry Brown needs to be recalled! He is running California into the ground with cap -n-trade BS and the climate change lie just to drain every cent he can from the taxpayer! These crooks have to go! Wake up Californians! Do not fall for their lies, when all they want is your money! If you really think they care about you think again!

    • Robert S. Allen

      Every two years the voters can fire their Congressman; every six years two of their Senators.

    • Garen Lux

      They are literally just repaving roads with slightly different markings during regularly scheduled construction.

      However you might be right, maybe those extra 2 inches of white line could be what pushes the state budget over the edge. I’m not going to hold my breath over it, but maybe you should.

  • Luc D

    Feel free to move to Alabama where you will have all the freedom in the world to enjoy your non existing global warm

  • oldironnow

    There’s a lot of money to be saved on those Botts’ Dots.
    It’ll make splitting easier… while it’s still legal