Regulations for self-driving cars; a work in progress

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 24, 2016 8:38 AM

A self-driving car takes off from Uber's newest riverside hub in Pittsburgh, Pa. Company officials say the Rust Belt city is perfect for beta testing, citing diverse topography, frequent weather maladies, construction, bridges and tunnels. (Courtesy -- Megan Harris/WESA)

(Harrisburg) -- Last week, Uber unleashed its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh with employees behind the wheel.

Fully autonomous vehicles are likely still years away, and a public-private task force in Pennsylvania is trying to determine how to treat these experiments in the meantime. 

Who is the driver in a driverless car? That's just one of many questions Pennsylvania's Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force is trying to answer, along with questions of vehicle capabilities and software security.

Kurt Myers, at PennDOT, says it's important that the task force remains flexible because the technology is changing rapidly.

"There is certainly a balance from the standpoint of encouraging the development of this emerging technology and bringing jobs to Pennsylvania, but that is clearly balanced with public safety," Myers said.

Legislation pending in the state Senate would allow PennDOT to change policy on self-driving cars as the technology advances.

The task force is hoping to present a report to PennDOT's secretary in November.


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