OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 260 (File 433, as amended by Senate "A")*



This bill requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), in consultation with the departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Transportation (DOT), and Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), to establish a pilot program to allow manufacturers and fleet service providers to test fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) in up to four municipalities. It establishes requirements for testing under the program and requires participating municipalities to enter into agreements with AV testers.

It establishes a 15-member task force to study AVs and develop legislative recommendations for regulating AVs. The task force must also evaluate the pilot program established under the bill.

The bill also defines a number of terms related to AVs, much of which conforms to SAE International's “Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles” (SAE J3016). SAE International is an engineering professional association and standards developing organization. The federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has adopted the SAE definitions for use in its Federal Autonomous Vehicles Policy.

*Senate Amendment “A” (1) conforms the bill's definitions to SAE's standards, (2) increases the number of municipalities that can participate in the pilot program, (3) adds provisions on the pilot program's requirements, and (4) adds members to the task force and expands its charge.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage



Under the bill, a “fully autonomous vehicle” is a motor vehicle equipped with an “automated driving system” that is designed to function without an operator and classified as SAE level four or five. Level four and five AVs have the highest level of automation and can operate without the expectation of human intervention.

“Automated driving system” (ADS) is defined as hardware and software that collectively perform the entire “dynamic driving task” on a sustained basis, regardless of whether the ADS is limited to a specific “operational design domain.” “Dynamic driving task” means the real-time operational and tactical functions required while operating a vehicle on highways, excluding strategic functions such as trip scheduling and destination selection. “Operational design domain” means a description of the operating domains in which the ADS is designed to function, including geographic, roadway, environmental, and speed limitations.

AV Testers

Under the bill, an “autonomous vehicle tester” is an AV manufacturer, higher education institution, fleet service provider, or automotive equipment or technology provider.

An “autonomous vehicle manufacturer” is a person or entity that (1) builds or sells AVs, (2) installs ADSs in motor vehicles not originally built as AVs, or (3) develops ADS in AVs or motor vehicles that are not originally built as AVs. A “fleet service provider” is a person or entity that owns or leases an AV and operates the AV for commercial or public use.


The bill requires OPM, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP, to establish a pilot program to allow AV manufacturers and fleet service providers to test AVs in up to four municipalities. Municipalities must apply to the OPM secretary to participate in the program in a form and manner he prescribes. The secretary must select (1) one municipality with a population of between 120,000 and 124,000, as listed in the 2010 census (i.e., Stamford) and (2) one municipality with a population of at least 100,000, as listed in the 2010 census.

The OPM secretary must annually report on the pilot program's implementation and progress, starting by January 1, 2019, to the Transportation Committee.

Testing Agreements

The chief elected officer or executive official of each municipality selected by the OPM secretary must enter into an agreement with an AV tester or testers to test AVs on the municipality's highways. At a minimum, the agreement must:

1. specify the location and routes where AVs may operate in the municipality;

2. prohibit the operation of AVs outside the listed routes, except for emergencies;

3. list each AV to be tested by vehicle identification number, make, year, and model; and

4. specify the hours of operation for the AVs.

Testing Requirements

The bill establishes requirements that AV testers and operators (i.e., the person sitting in the driver's seat of an AV) must meet in order to test AVs.

Under the bill, AV testers must (1) register with DMV each AV it plans to test and (2) submit to DMV proof of liability insurance, self-insurance, or surety bond of at least $ 5,000,000 for personal injury, death, or property damage. An AV operator must hold a driver's license and be an employee, independent contractor, or other person designated and trained by the AV tester on the AV's capabilities and limitations. When testing AVs, the operator must (1) be seated in the driver's seat of an AV, (2) monitor the AV's operation, and (3) be capable of taking immediate manual control of the AV. AV testers are also prohibited from testing AVs on limited access highways.

The bill also requires AV testers and operators to comply with (1) state and municipal motor vehicle laws, (2) the NHTSA AV standards, and (3) any other requirements deemed necessary by OPM, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP for the safe operation of AVs.

Under the bill, the OPM secretary may immediately prohibit an operator and AV tester from testing AVs if he determines, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP, that (1) the testing is a public safety risk or (2) the operator or AV tester has not complied with the bill's provisions or the pilot program's requirements.

Reporting. The bill requires participating AV testers to provide information to the OPM secretary and the task force established by the bill that they deem appropriate to measuring the pilot program's performance. AV testers may withhold commercially valuable, confidential, or proprietary information.


The bill creates a 15-member task force to study AVs. At a minimum, the task force must (1) evaluate NHTSA's standards on state responsibilities for regulating AVs; (2) evaluate other states' proposed or enacted laws, legislation, and regulations on AVs; (3) recommend how the state should regulate fully autonomous vehicles through legislation and regulation; and (4) evaluate the pilot program established by the bill.

The task force consists of 11 appointed members, one appointed by each of the following legislators: House speaker, Senate president pro tempore, House majority leader, Senate majority leader, House minority leader, Senate minority leader, Transportation Committee Senate chairperson, Transportation Committee House chairperson, and Transportation Committee ranking member; and two appointed by the governor, one with expertise in autonomous vehicles and one with expertise in insurance. Four members serve ex-officio (or may send designees): the DMV, DOT, and DESPP commissioners and the OPM secretary. Any appointees may be General Assembly members. Appointments must be made within 30 days after the bill's passage, and vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority.

The bill requires the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore to select the task force's chairpersons from the task force's members. The chairpersons must schedule the task force's first meeting, which must be held within 60 days after the bill's passage. The Transportation Committee's administrative staff must serve as the task force's staff.

The task force must submit interim reports and a final report on its findings and legislative recommendations to the Transportation Committee. The interim reports are due by January 1 and July 1 in 2018, and the final report is due by January 1, 2019. The task force ends on this date or the date it submits its report, whichever is later.


Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable