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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 10, 2021 10:03 AM
From: Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Providing a Roadmap for the Testing and Deployment of Highly Automated Vehicles
We are at the precipice of an industry that will change the landscape of our Commonwealth’s jobs, economic activity and investment.  This industry is driverless technology or Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV). 
Since being named Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I have met with multiple stakeholders within our Commonwealth regarding this exciting, emerging area.  Most recently, we conducted a hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee in June that elicited insightful testimony on this subject.  They told the Committee that Pennsylvania is lagging behind other States and countries with the implementation of this technology.
We must ensure our Commonwealth remains competitive in this arena – and we must take steps now to retain and recruit investment in this vital area.
Accordingly, I intend to introduce legislation to accomplish these goals and reinforce Pennsylvania as a national and global leader.  Together, we will accomplish this goal by amending the Vehicle Code.
Currently, the Vehicle Code requires a natural person to drive or be in actual physical control of the vehicle.  New legislation must be passed to permit an HAV to operate without a natural person, while still maintaining pedestrian, occupant and overall traffic safety.  Other States have taken steps to permit this, and it can be done in a safe, responsible manner.
There are many organizations in Pennsylvania that have been operating and testing under the original policy developed in 2018 by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  That policy requires a natural person to be in the driver’s position of the vehicle at all times.
It is time to change this to comport in line with industry standards.  Doing this will solidify our support of the industries and demonstrate a commitment to this emerging industry.
As Carnegie Mellon University is an indisputable global leader, it is only fitting that we take the steps to put Pennsylvania first.
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation that will create jobs, improve traffic safety and reinforce the Commonwealth’s role in the global competition of driverless vehicle technology.

Introduced as SB965