Driverless Vehicles Coming To Chattanooga As Part Of “Smart City” Downtown Plan

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

Driverless vehicles are part of the plan for the downtown area of Chattanooga as the “smart city” continues to expand its infrastructure over the next two years.

The city has been experimenting with a 1.2 mile stretch outfitted with cameras, LiDAR, radar and audio devices to test new technology in the interest of reaching zero traffic fatalities once deployed throughout downtown. 

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This kind of technology has yet to be used widely in the U.S. and Chattanooga aims to now expand the project to include all 100 proposed smart intersections with hopes that autonomous electric vehicles can be introduced. The data and lessons learned from such a large deployment of connected infrastructure may be useful to other cities with similar goals.

The 1.2 mile “living testbed” that researchers have managed over the last few years relies on Chattanooga’s gigabit-speed fiber broadband network built by EPB, the publicly owned electric power distribution and telecommunications company that serves approximately 180 thousand homes and businesses within a 600-square mile in the greater Chattanooga area and Hamilton County.

EPB began building the community-wide fiber optic network with more than 9,000 miles of lines within the city’s smart grid back in 2009. That grid now encompasses more than 200 thousand smart devices across the system which includes over a thousand IntelliRupter smart switches, a variety of sensors, and smart meters at every location within the service area.

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In addition, the launch of a first of its kind quantum network was announced by the City of Chattanooga last November. A white paper from September 2021, published by the World Economic Forum, outlines the necessity of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to “accelerate the energy transition” of the future. Quantum computing is necessary for AI to process large quantities of data – the kind being collected through smart city initiatives such as Chattanooga’s – and to solve complex problems quickly.

Seoul Robotics, partners with the Chattanooga Department of Innovation Delivery and Performance, and the Center of Urban Informatics and Progress at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has boasted that the finished installation of Chattanooga’s smart city intersections will lead to “the largest urban Internet of Things deployment of its kind in the United States.”

These intersections, expected to cost between $20 thousand and $25 thousand each, will be outfitted with LiDAR sensors, and will also record air quality and weather data. All information captured by the variety of sensors will be transmitted to a “digital twin” simulation that the city is developing to give real time traffic predictions.


All of this will soon lead to the roll out of an autonomous vehicle shuttle that will carry Chattanoogans around the existing testbed and parts of the downtown area.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will also be partnering with researchers to explore and improve autonomous vehicle safety on highways. Plans are in the works to add a 2.5-mile section of highway to the testbed that will be outfitted with sensors and other necessary technology.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

3 thoughts on “Driverless Vehicles Coming To Chattanooga As Part Of “Smart City” Downtown Plan

  • June 7, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Is Chattanooga a liberal city? Serious question. The Mayor sounds liberal.

    • June 27, 2023 at 6:25 am

      Yes, though he ran on Republican ticket, pandered to the liberals and dems to get elected. TN does not have a closed primary. You can be a registered Democrat and ask for a Republican ballot and vote for a Republican in the primaries, hence, why several would like to see closed primary so only those registered to a party can vote for their party candidate. Would help eliminate rinos. Our county mayor is the same. His family was previously Democrat but his father won elections by running as a Republican, and he did the same. So important to vote on principles and not on name recognition or the most popular

  • June 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    The use of the Term Liberal in Politics can be traced back to NYC, Madison Square Garden and the National Convention of Communist Organizations.
    NYC and Chicago have always been Hotbeds of both Fascist and Communist Socialism.
    At the Convention they preached the spread of Communism through the term “Liberalism”.


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