Driverless cars one step closer to reality in WI
State Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, hopes it’s only a matter of time before self-driving vehicles come to Wisconsin, and they could be one step closer now that Gov. Scott Walker has issued an executive order creating a steering committee that will submit policy recommendations on “autonomous vehicles” by the summer of 2018.
Walker issued the executive order last week, directing the committee to report on which state laws would require revision to facilitate driverless car testing, identify suitable roadways for such cars, and find ways to handle licensing and safety inspections.
Neylon, who has been drafting legislation to allow driverless cars to operate in Wisconsin, applauded the move because a new regulatory framework is needed. He has cited public safety reasons for his stance, noting that 90% of vehicular accidents are the result of human error.
“Will there be situations where a driverless car malfunctions? Yes, but if you remove human error from the equation, we’ll save hundreds of thousands of lives,” Neylon stated during a recent luncheon of the Wisconsin Technology Innovation Network.
Perhaps the largest barrier to self-driving vehicles is that most state vehicular statutes — some 600 of them — refer to the “operator” of a vehicle. “Next session, if we don’t have enabling legislation,” Neylon says, “we’ll fall further behind other states.”
Neylon chairs the State Assembly’s Committee on Jobs and the Economy.