Home Industry rides along as Pennsylvania develops self-driving laws

Industry rides along as Pennsylvania develops self-driving laws

Pennsylvania state lawmakers enlisted top industry leaders like Uber to help them draft new laws for autonomous-vehicle technology.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this week on the first meeting of the state’s Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force. The task force includes automotive industry leaders, along with legislators, federal and state transportation officials, professors and police representatives.

This comes as several US states are developing new laws or revisiting old ones to ensure that autonomous vehicles can legally it the road in their jurisdictions.

Included in the task force is Ashwini Chhabra, Uber’s head of policy development. San Francisco-based Uber recently announced plans to test self-driving cars on Pittsburgh’s streets, after setting up its Advanced Technology Center in the city’s Strip District.

Uber’s other big commitment in the state is a plan to build a self-driving car test track in Hazelwood, on the former LTV Steel site.

Carnegie Mellon University riding shotgun

Also included on the task force is Raj Rajkumar, a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor and head of the school’s many self-driving car projects.

Rajkumar assisted Pittsburgh-based CMU develop a self-driving Cadillac SUV that legislative members of the task force rode in during the group’s gathering. The SRX has multiple cameras, radars and lasers to help it sense its environment, and a large on-board computer that processes the sensor data to control the car’s driving.

“I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot today about this vehicle; I can understand and appreciate what this vehicle will be able to do,” said State Sen. Randy Vulakovich, adding “I’m not quite sure I’m smart enough to know how it all works.”

Vulakovich is among the politicians involved in introducing a new bill two weeks ago that aims to balance safety with support for innovation. It requires autonomous vehicle testers to get state Transport Department approval and carry $5 million in insurance. As well, the developers of the technology must report any accidents involving their self-driving cars.

“This legislation is to help the universities and the companies by clarifying the vehicle testing process,” said bill sponsor Wayne Fontana, another state Senator.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.