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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.

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May 23, 2017 03:18 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Driverless cars depend on input that sensors pick up from the road and other drivers. I can only think that the current state of disrepair of our transportation network is the real reason WI will be fall further behind the curve.

May 23, 2017 03:56 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I am sure there have been improvements in the last few years but the sensors on my car are always buzzing when I travel in the winter. The snow and slush getting splashed on them confuses them and they think it is an object.

May 23, 2017 04:27 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Do we really want driverless semis? That is probably what this is all about especially given the difficulty in finding drivers in many of the rural areas

May 23, 2017 04:33 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Um, yeah, Anon 4:27, we do. I'd trust an autonomous semi any day over a human driver who might not have slept in days, or is pissed because someone just cut him off and now he's gonna take it out on the next guy who tries to pass him.

Dec 5, 2017 10:29 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Retirement communities are the ideal environment for testing driverless cars. The elderly have a great need for transportation to & from grocery stores, medical services and a mired of short trips. Many elderly have the funds to pay for such short trips. It is an ideal environment for testing driverless vehicles!

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