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City Of Tulsa Eyes Driverless Technology

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Driverless technology seems to be making headlines on a daily basis.

Mayor GT Bynum has put together a new group to discuss just that and what Tulsa needs to do in order to stay on top of the changes.

Right now, the Consumer Electronics show is going on in Las Vegas - it highlights all the latest innovations in technology.

A major discussion is driverless vehicles and that discussion is not only heating up in Las Vegas but right here in the Mayor's office in the city of Tulsa.

It's not a matter of If - but when.

That is Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum's major message tonight regarding Autonomous vehicles.

"There are already cities around the world that are being very proactive and preparing for this," Bynum said. 

So why not Tulsa?

Bynum has brought together industry experts and city officials as part of his new Urban Mobility Innovation Team.

"What I don't want is Tulsa to be the city that will make things nice for horses and buggies when Henry Ford has the model A coming down the assembly line," Bynum said. 

He said Tulsa is in a great position to start discussing and experimenting.

Our streets were built straight on a grid and evenly divided.

We are also in the middle of a strong effort to bring better public transportation to town.

"That is the greatest barrier we have as far as public transit.  It is not buying the busses - it's paying people to drive the busses.  If all of a sudden you have buses driving themselves you  have more opportunities for people with public transportation in the city than you had to begin with," Bynum said, 

Adriane Jaynes with INCOG made her pitch Tuesday and acknowledged some of the skepticism.

Things like Revenue losses from parking tickets and license fees.

Many cars would be electric, but we are a state that depends on oil and gas - so why are we promoting this?

"It's not a question of what we are willing to promote it is a question of whats coming this is where the industry is headed," Jaynes said. 

"And we've brought together some of the best minds in the state of Oklahoma to help us focus on this so Tulsa can be a leader and be prepared," Bynum said. 

Another angle to this - driverless cars would cut down on the amount of time our cars have to sit parked in garages or parking lots.

That allows for redevelopment of those areas in town instead of housing parking structures.

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