Are You Ready For Self-Driving Cars Here in Illinois?
I was just out in the Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona area a few weeks back, and besides 85 degree weather and Chicago Cubs spring training baseball, the thing (or things) that got my attention the most was the prevalence of self-driving cars undergoing testing on the streets.
Say what you will about the concept of the driverless auto, but lots of big names (Google, Uber, Tesla) have logged over 4 million road miles here in the US in Arizona, California, and Michigan as they work to perfect the technology, and market it to the public. Now, it looks like Illinois could be one of the newest proving grounds for driverless tech.
From DriverlessID, a website devoted to all things related to autonomous vehicles:
Uber's driverless program has states like Arizona excited for the future of self-driving vehicles. But it's not Arizona alone that supports the driverless craze; the Illinois House of Representatives will hear a bill that would allow driverless cars on the road with or without human operators. The bill, entitled the Autonomous Vehicles Act, makes it clear that no law or legislation would affect driverless vehicles from hitting the streets, regardless of who (if anyone) is operating them.
General Motors, the chief proponent of the Autonomous Vehicle Act, says that driverless cars could be on the streets of Chicago within 2 years.
From the News-Gazette:
Traffic deaths nationally were up 7 percent in 2015 to more than 35,000, said Paul Hemmersbaugh, a chief counsel and policy director for GM's Transportation as a Service. "The national number is growing and we have no one to blame but ourselves," he said. "More than 30 percent of the fatal crashes involve drunk drivers. Twenty-eight percent of the time excessive speed is involved." Overall, he said, human error is responsible for 94 percent of fatal crashes. "Self-driving cars won't drive impaired, won't drive worried about taking phone calls or responding to texts, won't drive drowsy or recklessly and will follow the proper speeds and the rules of the road," Hemmersbaugh told the committee. "With increased safety comes the chance to transform our lives."
The legislation, HB 2747, passed the Illinois House Transportation Committee, 9-0 last Wednesday.