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Is Austin as Smart as It Thinks It Is? We're About to Find Out

City proposes bringing self-driving cars to the airport as part of a grant challenge

Now that the city of Austin has officially declared itself a smart city—or at least smart enough to win some grant money for using still-emerging technology—the U.S. Department of Transportation is coming here to check out that claim.

On Friday, Michael Theis of the Austin Business Journal reported that a DOT team will to meet with city officials including Mayor Steve Adler to discuss Austin's Smart City Challenge bid.

Austin is one of seven finalists in the challenge—a DOT-sponsored competition that will award the winning city $50 million in grants to include new technologies—some of which are still being developed—in transportation plans, according to the ABJ report.

Self-driving cars and sensor-studded roads are some examples of the forward-looking technology they have in mind, the story adds.

The Journal story notes that the proposed use of self-driving cars dominates Austin's application for the challenge. According to ABJ, the city would use grant money to start developing an airport circulator composed of self-driving cars that move passengers between the terminal and a currently nonexistent airport transportation hub.