SPOKANE, Wash. — A proposal to test out a self-driving bus in Spokane's Riverfront Park has failed to pass the Spokane City Council.
According to KREM's Casey Decker, the special budget ordinance to fund a self-driving bus pilot program in Riverfront Park failed on Monday night by a single vote. The proposal needed five votes to pass.
According to Decker, Council President Ben Stuckart said he is schoked at the outcome and hopes the council can work to get the proposal passed next year.
Five of the seven council members have to approve allocations of money, meaning the program won't happen this year, according to Decker. The 'no' votes were Council members Mike Fagan, Lori Kinnear and Candace Mumm.
The proposal would have brought the self-driving bus "Olli" to Spokane. A committee proposal was passed earlier on Monday for a final vote on Monday night.
City officials entered Spokane into the Pacific Northwest Olli Fleet Challenge by Local Motors, which would bring a smart bus with futuristic features to Howard Street.
The bus can fit up to eight people into its boxy dimensions. It’s fully run on electricity and goes up to 25 miles per hour.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department received a grant to fund the program, according to Councilor Kate Burke. The pilot program would have been a test run for the shuttle bus, and the city would have the grant total.
On top of the bus is a technology called LIDAR. It’s a detection system that uses lasers to determine its surroundings. That’s how the bus can operate without a human driving it. To ensure safety, it has a controller that monitors activity at all times
The bus has already made appearances in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Spokane’s entry into the challenge will be evaluated by a panel of judges through Local Motors and they will ultimately decide which city the bus goes to.