Jan 30, 2013
PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch predicts that his twins, 18 months old, might never drive cars, at least not in the way we do now.
“They will likely program their car to transport them autonomously to their destination,” said Schoch, 52. “And like any parent, if that vehicle can‘t speed, can‘t run off the road and can‘t run into another vehicle, I will rest much easier at night knowing that they are safer because of this technology.”
Fully autonomous vehicles can run on their own with the help of computers, sensors and other technology, though a person can take control at any time. Many vehicles have semi-autonomous features, such as collision avoidance systems that automatically apply brakes before an object is struck.
To help PennDOT prepare for the day when autonomous vehicles are the norm, Schoch recruited Carnegie Mellon University.
PennDOT and CMU will look at how to regulate self-driving vehicles and how they might affect policy decisions in a study expected to get under way in about a month and to take a year to complete, said Allen D. Biehler, a former PennDOT secretary who is now a distinguished professor of transportation systems and policy at CMU.
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