Innovation, safety stressed in self-driving car policy in PA

Recommendations by the Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force, released in a 34-page report Tuesday, would require companies to register with the state if they want to test self-driving vehicles; report the size of their testing fleet, total miles traveled and hours on the highway every six months; and inform the state if self-driving vehicles are involved in any reportable accidents.

But the recommendations suggest policies that can easily be adjusted as needed by the state Department of Transportation rather than regulations that would require legislative approval for any changes. And the testing regimen wouldn’t be as restrictive as in states such as California, which requires researchers to report to the state every time a safety driver on a test vehicle has to touch the brakes or take some other action to override the automated system.

“Yes, they are broad,” said Kurt Myers, co-chairman of the task force and PennDOT’s deputy secretary for driver and vehicle services.

“The fact is, the task force focused on policies … to ensure flexibility as technology emerges.”