The Senate has passed Bill 260 which allows Connecticut to establish a pilot program for up four municipalities to allow fully autonomous vehicles (FAV) manufacturers to test FAVs on those municipalities’ local roads. Once selected, a city leader would enter into a written agreement with an autonomous vehicle tester and specify what routes an FAV would take in town, identify the FAV’s by vehicle identification number, make, year and model, and specify their hours of operation.
All FAV’s in the pilot program would require a licensed and insured human operator in the driver’s seat, monitoring the operation of the vehicle and capable of taking “immediate manual control” of the vehicle if necessary.
Under terms of the bill, a pilot FAV program could be ceased if it is determined that the testing poses a public safety risk. The bill also creates a task force to study the use of FAVs in Connecticut, with reports due to the Transportation Committee on January 1, 2018, July 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, each year the number of states considering legislation related to FAVs has gradually increased: only six states considered FAV legislation in 2012, but 33 U.S. states are considering such legislation this year. Fifteen states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Vermont and Washington D.C. — have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles, while governors in Arizona, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have issued executive orders related to autonomous vehicles.
Around the globe, 44 companies have invested more than $1 billion in 87 different FAV technology projects, represent a 10-fold increase in investment since 2012; 68% of those deals are with U.S. companies, mostly located in California.
State Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford), who is the Senate Co-Chairman of the Transportation Committee led unanimous and bipartisan Senate passage of the bill. Sen. Leone said the bill is written in such a way that Stamford will be one of the first four municipalities in Connecticut to test fully autonomous vehicles, or “FAVs.”
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. If passed there, it must be signed into law by Governor Malloy, and would take effect immediately.
Source: Official site Carlos Leone