On Tuesday, the House Transportation Committee advanced a bill that would allow for “highly automated work zone vehicles” in Pennsylvania. The bill, House Bill 1958, was sponsored by Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) and would essentially allow for driverless or automated vehicle crash attenuator trucks to be operated on state highways. Technically under current law, any vehicle operated on state highways must have a human operator in the driver’s seat.
Last month, APC President Max Hempt joined APC staff and personally attended a demonstration of the technology at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s headquarters. The demonstration was to allow legislators and PennDOT experience a first-hand look at how the technology could be used in the future. APC member, Royal Truck & Equipment Company, conducted the demonstration and is currently piloting the technology in London and in the state of Colorado.
The passage of HB 1958 is only the beginning of the legislative process. The bill still has to garner the support of the full House and Senate as well as Governor Wolf.