Starting Monday, March 11, and for the next six to eight weeks, a stretch of Ely Road between Wright Brothers Blvd. and 76th St. SW will be closed. That's because crews will be testing the new technology of partially-automated vehicles. Seven days a week, a one-mile portion of that road will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is it really safe? Is it really "driver-less"? Now, most cars already have elements of driver-less technology, so what exactly is the new testing going to entail? Experts conducting the tests are saying it will "monitor how drivers engage in everyday driving tasks while using automated cars'.

What might be the most controversial part of automated vehicles as the wave of the future is the money. Some reports say it will take up to $4 billion to launch the technology. It's also reported that Google has been working on their version that was to feature no steering wheels. That's terrifying to me.

Besides it being an inconvenience to drivers in Ely and SW Cedar Rapids for the next two months, there are a lot of questions about the technology. Am I going to be driven around by a robot? What if the car gets hacked? I don't even like the idea of being able to remotely operate my garage door from my phone. Will it look the little box car in the picture or something more sleek?

Hopefully, the answers will be clearer after these tests. In the meantime, be safe and aware as you drive in that area next week.



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