Experiments aimed at automating cars have been going on since the 1920’s, but only in recent years has the technology advanced to a point where it appears inevitable. Autonomous cars, also known as driverless cars, are computer-operated vehicles designed to travel between destinations without a human operator needed at the wheel.
The driverless car movement received a huge boost earlier this month, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wrote a letter to Google confirming that the computer system that runs their version of the autonomous car will be considered a driver under federal law; a first step in allowing driverless vehicles full access to the roads.
[pullquote]Driverless cars are coming, Representative Spendlove wants to make sure we are ready for them.[/pullquote]In an effort to determine the best way for Utah to handle these changes in car technology, one lawmaker is proposing a study to get ahead of the curve.
HB 280 – Autonomous Vehicle Study, sponsored by Representative Robert Spendlove (Republican – Sandy), requires a study to determine best practices for regulation of autonomous vehicle technology on Utah highways.
The study will be conducted by the Department of Public Safety, in consultation with the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Technology Services.
The bill calls for several things to be analyzed, including an evaluation of suggested standards by various agencies, a look at what safety features may be appropriate in Utah’s ever-changing climate, and evaluation of other states’ approaches to regulating autonomous vehicles. Also requested are recommendations for how the Legislature should address any further advances in autonomous vehicle technology.
If approved the Department of Public Safety is expected to present its findings to the Transportation Interim Committee prior to December 1, 2016.
As technology continues to evolve, we all should do our best to evolve with it. Spendlove’s bill is an essential next step to preparing for the time when driverless cars are commonplace in Utah.
To contact Representative Spendlove, click here or call 801-560-5394 (Cell)
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