TO THE EDITOR:
In "Keep self-driving tests off public roads" in the Feb. 20 issue, Keith Crain sounds like my 79-year-old mother! She's a Pittsburgher and, like Crain, is flummoxed by the emphasis on developing autonomous vehicles and questions the market potential.
My wife and I recently moved back to Pittsburgh after 22 years in Michigan. Self-driving Ubers are tested all around, which at first was futuristic and intimidating but is now commonplace. Humans are still behind the wheels but don't touch them unless necessary, should an unexpected situation arise. Uber, Argo AI and others have chosen Pittsburgh due to Carnegie Mellon and associated startup company talent, plus our roads with extreme twists and turns.
As a marketing and sales adviser to businesses, I regularly drive to points in and around Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. In fact, a recent three-day trip to Michigan had me driving for 15 hours on relatively straight highways such as the Ohio Turnpike and Michigan's M 10, U.S. 23, U.S. 127 and Interstates 75, 94, 96 and 696. From a business perspective, those were 15 mostly "lost" hours I'll never get back.
Aside from listening to satellite radio and podcasts or making the occasional phone call, I was consumed with the drudgery of multihour freeway driving. How much more business could have been accomplished with my eyes and hands focused on my laptop instead of the steering wheel and road?
Those in the marketing, sales, service and other "road warrior" professions represent huge market potential for self-driving cars. These new smart cars will be a game changer in improved business efficiency and a welcome future!
GARY M. GIALLONARDO, Managing director, Industrial Visions Co., Bethel Park, Pa.