Self-driving cars could help drive Chula Vista toward becoming the Silicon Valley of the South Bay in San Diego County.
“Already, businesses are here that are involved in emerging technology," said Chula Vista City Engineer, Bill Valle.
The Chula Vista City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night that supports the research and development of the city as a testing ground for self-driving cars.
Chula Vista joins 10 other locations across the country that were chosen to help test autonomous cars on the road.
The cars will travel along Interstate 15, State Route 125 and share the streets of Chula Vista.
“I drive a manual six-speed and that sometimes is annoying, so I think it’s a really good idea," said Lorenzo Oviedo.
However, not everyone feels enthused about the self-driving vehicles, including Michael Alviz.
“It’s dangerous. Anytime, a car can malfunction. For people driving with kids it could be a danger, so yes, I’m worried about it," Alviz said.
Uber Technologies Inc. suspended its pilot program for driverless cars in March after a vehicle equipped with autonomous technology crashed on an Arizona roadway.
Commissioner Jim Madaffer with the California Transportation Commission said while there are some failures, there are also a lot of successes and the cars are always learning.
"Noting all those autonomous vehicles have a driver sitting behind the wheel, so there is a steering wheel with hands ready to take over at any moment,” Madaffer said.
More than 30 car and technology companies already have permits to operate self-driving cars in California.
Chula Vista hopes to use new, upgraded street lights with sensors to help collect the testing information and share it with other testing grounds and companies to improve self-driving car safety.
“That’s an opportunity for us to have them say, 'You know what? Where we need to be is not Silicon Valley. Where we need to be is the City of Chula Vista.'" said Mayor Mary Salas.