MILWAUKEE — As regional
leaders prepare for challenges that will result from the massive
Foxconn plant in southeastern Wisconsin, the possibility of
driverless vehicles is being studied as one way to deal with traffic
State highway planners are studying the possibility of including
special lanes for driverless vehicles on Interstate 94, said Tim
Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of
There currently aren't highway lanes dedicated to autonomous
vehicles, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation
State money has been earmarked to widen I-94 to eight lanes and
improve local roads as Foxconn develops a $10 billion flat-screen
manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant, about 25 miles (40
kilometers) south of Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reported . The facility could employ between 3,000 and 13,000
people, according to the Taiwan-based company.
State transportation planners are considering many options to deal
with the plant's traffic, said Michael Pyritz, a spokesman for the
Department of Transportation's southeast region.
"It's on the table," Pyritz said of dedicated lanes for driverless
vehicles. "But boy, there's a lot of stuff on the table."
One possibility includes putting driverless lanes between the
Foxconn plant and Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport to help
move supplies and products to and from the factory, Sheehy said.
The autonomous vehicles are still in the testing stages.
Foxconn is best known for producing the iPhone for Apple. In
Wisconsin, the company is receiving $3 billion in state incentives
and could get as much as $764 million in local assistance and
infrastructure spending for the new factory.
The company believes the panels built at the factory will be used in
a number of different fields including crowd security, medicine,
advanced manufacturing and driverless car displays.