Autonomous Vehicles Coming to ND

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Each year, about 40,000 people are killed in car accidents on highways in the U.S.
Research shows that about 94% of these accidents are caused by human error.
Two bills went through committee this afternoon with the goal to reduce both of these numbers.
Emily Medalen tells us about the future of autonomous vehicles in North Dakota.

As technology speeds forward, the use of self-driving vehicles in our state draws near.
Autonomous vehicles are capable of sensing their environment, and navigating without human input – and are currently used in 7 states.

“Every major manufacturer is working on this right now, and it is going to be a thing of the future,” said Dan Ruby, (R) Minot.

HB 1202 would allow the ND Department of Transportation to regulate where autonomous vehicles can be monitored and tested.
The Head of Public Policy for Uber, North Dakota, thinks this could restrict potential businesses from coming to the state.

“The bill’s broad prohibition of self-driving without DOT approval could prevent or delay ND from realizing these benefits. The legislation is placing full authority in DOT to determine what is acceptable or not,” said Carla Jacobs, Head of Public Policy, Uber ND.

Another concern about testing these vehicles on our highways is the technology “bugging” out and causing accidents.
Marlo Anderson is a proponent of the bill, and says this is nothing to worry about.

“There are safety protocols in place, and you know, in the near future, if you’re in autonomous mode, you can just grab the wheel, just like you’d do if you were driving in cruise control,” said Marlo Anderson, Guru of Geek.

The second bill concerns the sharing of data among these self-driving vehicles as they’re on the road.
Some have voiced that they don’t want their vehicle sending out information for privacy reasons.
Anderson argues that information-sharing would only increase safety on the roads.


“If somebody has a car accident in fog a half mile in front of me, I want my car to know that there’s an accident in fog a half mile in front of me,” said Anderson.

The bills will be voted on in the Senate in the next few weeks.
In Bismarck, Emily Medalen, KX News.

The NDDOT has stated that if these bills are passed, highway 83 will be used as a testing corridor for autonomous vehicles in North Dakota.
 

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