And now this for proposed Lilac Hills Ranch, scheduled to begin its final approval process before San Diego County Supervisors on Wednesday, Oct. 28: Autonomous, or driverless, vehicles that would provide services to establish a more pedestrian-oriented community and more interconnected neighborhoods, according to Accretive president Jon Rilling.
With all the controversy over leap-frog development approvals by San Diego County planning staff and possible circumvention of community safety and standards by Accretive Investments Lilac Hills Ranch project, you got to give developer deluxe Randy Goodson this much.
Goodson and company sure knows how to spin green in his ever-controversial attempt to plant 1,746 dwelling units on a 608-acre site in the middle of the Valley Center wilderness two miles east of Interstate 15 and Old Highway 395, bordered by West Lilac Road to the south and west along Shirey Road and Standell Lane, north of Rodriguez Road, Nelson Way and Circle “R” Lane.
Lilac Hills Ranch critics, of which there are legions, are quick to point out how the project violates the county General Plan, needs a third environmental impact report due to continued deficiencies and presents a clear and present danger during any fire event due to inadequate roads and services in an ultra-rural setting.
A public relations, and who knows what else, wizard who got San Elijo Hills on the county books and now appears just one hurdle short of putting Lilac Hills Ranch in place despite almost universal community disdain, Goodson and Accretive president Jon Rilling pulled out the big guns this week.
Critics are missing the point, according to Accretive. The development will feature a village-style approach whereby every home will be within a 10-minute walk to the grocery store and village center. The proposed 1,700-unit build out in five phases will have a K-8 school, a 50-room country inn, senior center, water-reclamation plant.
And it will feature driverless technology.
“We’ve collaborated with 5D Robotics, a local technology firm in Carlsbad, CA, to introduce in concept autonomous or driverless vehicles in the Lilac Hills Ranch community that would provide services to establish a more pedestrian-oriented community and more interconnected neighborhoods,” Rilling said in an interview published on real estate B-to-B news site GlobeSt.com Monday.
“It’s widely accepted that people will walk more if there are alternative modes of travel available to them,” Rilling said. “This technology would allow somebody to pull up an app on their smartphone and order a driverless electric vehicle to pick them up and take them to another point in the community. It could also be used to deliver groceries or household goods. Technology like this can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by reducing the number of car trips that a household would need to take in a given day.”
Rilling said driverless vehicles zipping around an approved Lilac Hills Ranch would augment and promote the pedestrian experience. Vehicles would be integrated throughout the community, available to residents to help with their daily household chores.
Driverless vehicles would increase safety by providing life-support systems like automatic external defibrillators while working on ” a localized virtual rail network — not a GPS system — that keeps the vehicles on a defined pathway,” Rilling said. “If someone summons a car, it will be preprogrammed to follow a certain route, and the resident can take it anywhere within the community,” Rilling said “The car can come in a lot of different shapes and forms; it’s platform adaptable.”
5D Robotics showcased the capabilities of the Polaris and Segway models that would be used in the community at Carlsbad’s Alga Norte Park earlier this month for news media reps. One rectangular, wheeled robot weaved back and forth across the park, meant to mimic the movements of a lawn mower.
The Polaris operated hands-free, as it would when taking residents home from a night out in the community, according to reports 5D Robotics CEO David Bruemmer said to reporters that he was excited for the development as a test location for the robots—before 5D moves toward autonomous highway driving robotics.
“Each of these vehicles (robots) is able to use lasers to actually see in 3-dimensions everything that’s happening around it,” Bruemmer said. “If there’s a 3-year-old that jumps in front of it, if there’s an obstacle like another vehicle, it’s going to get around that vehicle; it’s going to get around that human. That’s absolutely critical.
Goodson said he would buy the robots, and the homeowner’s association will pay for operation and maintenance. Costs for the endeavor were not disclosed.