JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Committee Raised Bill
Senator Carlo Leone
REASONS FOR BILL:
To establish a pilot program for up to two municipalities to test autonomous vehicles (AVs); and creates a task force to study AVs made up of various legislative and gubernatorial appointees as well as the DOT commissioner. The task force must report to the Transportation Committee by January 1, 2018.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Garrett Eucalitto, Undersecretary for Transportation, Conservation & Development Office of Policy & Management (OPM) - Believes that allowing for autonomous vehicles to be deployed in a safe and controlled manner holds significant economic development potential for our state, especially if we can do so in advance of other states.
Connecticut statutes are constructed around the concept of a driver being behind the wheel, and in control, of a vehicle. OPM believes that we need to move carefully and thoughtfully in the deployment of autonomous vehicles, while keeping passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and all other users of our roads and sidewalks as safe as possible as this technology is further developed. Still further, they would appreciate the opportunity to work with the legislature on this issue for increasing innovation while at the same time keeping our roads safe for all users.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Joseph R. Scully, President, Motor Transport Association of Connecticut - Applauds this bill because Connecticut must show the newest technologies (which have the potential for great safety benefits) to ultimately be deployed in our state. Autonomous technology is also being developed for the commercial trucking industry, and it is currently being tested in other states.
Chris Spear, President & CEO, American Trucking Associations is currently serving on the USDOT's Committee on Automation. That committee is working on the development and deployment of automated vehicles, and determining the department's policy, regulations and research.
MTAC urges that the potential regulation of autonomous commercial vehicles by the State of Connecticut not be rushed to implementation. Any potential regulation of autonomous commercial trucks by the State of Connecticut should either be closely harmonized with surrounding states policies that are based on federal guidance, or perhaps it should simply adopt federal standards by reference.
Justin Kintz, Head of U.S. Public Affairs, Uber Technologies, Inc. – Uber's investments in self-driving technology began two years ago in Pittsburgh where they established their Advanced Technologies Center. Self-driving technology will bring numerous benefits to Connecticut in the way of enhanced safety, congestion relief, and cleaner air.
Before benefiting from self-driving enhanced technology, they believed that Connecticut must first establish a statewide framework for regulating ridesharing. It is through a robust ridesharing network that Connecticut will be able to maximize self-driving cars by operating them in shared fleets. Rather than simply replacing current vehicles with self-driving cars, a shared fleet of self-driving cars allows for more people to leave their vehicles at home, leading to less emissions and reducing the number of vehicles on Connecticut roadways.
Self-driving cars have incredible potential to reduce accidents and save lives. Unlike human drivers, computers are not subject to fatigue or distraction. They can perceive better, calculate faster, and react earlier – which means they ultimately should drive more safely than people.
Given that self-driving technology is still in the early stages of development, they believe the state legislature should pause efforts to legislate self-driving rules, and instead convene groups of stakeholders to gather more information and commit to more thorough study into the live-saving benefits of the technology.
Amy Parmenter and Fran Mayko, on behalf of AAA Clubs in Connecticut, the AAA Allied Group and AAA Northeast representing more than one million members - AAA has been monitoring the advancement of autonomous vehicles and studying the impact of all such technology from a traffic safety perspective. AAA representatives have been actively engaged with automakers and traffic safety stakeholders at the national level, in an effort to promote progress without compromising safety.
The time is ripe for Connecticut to ready its roads – and its residents – for partially, highly and, eventually, fully autonomous vehicles and harmonize the state's driving, insurance and privacy laws accordingly.
Botht AAA Allied and AAA Northeast would welcome the opportunity to play an active role in the process, representing the motoring public on any AV task force or working group where their research and resources could be of benefit.
Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, Bridgeport, CT - Driverless cars now seem poised to become a reality in our community. Machines can never become distracted behind the wheel of a car. Driverless vehicles also offer the promise of mobility to disabled residents or the elderly, but machines also don't have instincts and may not be able to react quickly enough to changing situations on the road, or take into account weather factors such as rain, snow, fog, and wind. We also do not know the impact of driverless cars on a large scale in urban areas such as Bridgeport verses more rural or suburban areas of the state.
I would urge support of legislation calling for a serious study of driverless vehicles in Connecticut, but I would also strongly urge the General Assembly's consideration to make Bridgeport a prime testing ground for autonomous vehicles in a large urban area. We are a city that embraces cutting edge technology and has a growing cluster of green tech and clean energies industry and is the home of one of the top science and engineering research institutions and small business incubator programs in the world at the University of Bridgeport. This research base as well as the kind of urban environment real-life driving scenario makes Bridgeport an ideal location for thorough testing needed to study the feasibility of using autonomous vehicles in Connecticut.
IAC (Insurance Association of Connecticut) – Fully autonomous cars offer great promise for reducing accidents and improving roadway safety, as well as improving mobility for the disability community.
However, they raise a myriad of new and unique liability issues. As the legislature studies this issue, we encourage you to be cognizant of insurance issues. Autonomous vehicles will raise new challenges for insurers, as they have little to no experience rating and underwriting risk for cars with this technology. Insurers must be allowed the freedom to develop insurance products that are appropriate for these vehicles, and we ask that you include the industry as discussion about this issue progress.
Michael Peck, CEO, Olie Robotics - Legislation is a step in the right direction, however, does not address the tremendous opportunity to bring thousands of high paying jobs to Connecticut. This suggests that while this industry is unfolding, Connecticut take a leadership position in this nascent industry by enacting legislation to invite the developing industry to Connecticut.
They suggest that the following be added …… 1) authorize self-driving vehicles for testing (to – at the very minimum – get on par with other states); 2) Authorize a “Connecticut self-driving test track” (this will be a virtual test track with physical infrastructure); 3) Form the “Connecticut Self-Driving Commission” (which would be a small, nimble, innovative group inside of the CDOT); 4) Authorize self-driving lanes (perhaps it is a dual-purposing of our existing HOV lanes); 5) Authorize the merger of the DMV into the DOT. (This one is optional but inevitable. In the future, we will reach a point where a drivers license will only apply to those who want to operate “classic” vehicles.
There is a rare opportunity unfolding. The issue before us is whether Connecticut will be stuck in the breakdown lane or leading the nation in this inevitable transportation transformation.
Wayne Weikel, Senior Director of State Affairs, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - Vehicle technology is advancing rapidly and holds great promise for improvements in road safety and mobility, however, there are still many unknowns. As technology evolves, the “unknowns “ of today will become the “knowns “ of tomorrow. We believe that a consistent, national policy is in the best interests of all stakeholders. For states wishing to promote HQAVs, the key is having the right policy, at the right time, in the right place.
As things move ahead the alliance requests the opportunity to participate in the process. As the industry that builds the vehicles which would be regulated by legislation, automakers have a unique perspective and expertise on all aspects of vehicle and ADS technologies that may be helpful to these efforts.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Connecticut Trial lawyers Association (CTLA) - Opposes the deployment of robot cars to the general public until such time as this advanced technology is proven safe for the myriad of traffic environments to be encountered supports: the testing of robot cars in designated areas with reduced safety concerns (for example, not in construction zones or school zones) by trained manufacturer agents: supports a study of how robot cars may provide increased mobility to the disabled, the elderly, the young and other mobility disadvantaged segments of the citizenry of Connecticut and supports a study of the socioeconomic consequences of widespread deployment of this advanced mode of transportation.
1) The roll out of Robot cars on CT roads should be conducted in phases with Phase 1 being for testing by manufacturers and operation limited to certified test drivers who are agents/employees of the manufacturer
2) The test drivers of Robot Cars, should be certified to operate the cars based on certification requirements established jointly by DMV, DOT and the Department of Public Safety
3) All Robot Cars must be registered in CT prior to any testing on CT roads
4) Manufacturers of these Robot Cars and component manufacturers of the autonomous vehicle technology should not be granted immunity from civil litigation for injuries to person or property
5) Sufficient insurance for injury to person or property should be maintained with limits of $5,000,000 per person and $25,000,000 in the aggregate per incident
6) “Black Box” recording whether stored on a device on the Robot Car or off-vehicle as in a “cloud” should be preserved for the statute of limitations period in a non-editable format and provided to law enforcement, attorneys and courts in a readable format
7) Venue for civil litigation for injury to person or property should be in CT State courts and should be assented to by the manufacturer and component manufacturers upon the mandatory registration of the Robot Car for testing in CT
8) Manufacturers should be strictly liable for damages to person and property
9) Service of Process should be on the DMV or other manufacturer designated agent for service of process which designation must be done at the time of registration of the Robot Car
10) Forced arbitration should be prohibited
11) Autonomous Vehicle Oversight Committee should be established to monitor public safety consideration and the expanded presence of AVT on Connecticut roads. At least one member of this committee should be from the Connecticut Trial lawyers Association.
Reported by: Mary Anderson
Date: March 24, 2017