Study committee recommends waiting before allowing driver-less cars on Georgia roads

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 7, 2015
Google driverless car operating on a testing path. Photo by  Steve Jurvetson, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

Google driverless car operating on a testing path. Photo by Steve Jurvetson, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

A committee charged with studying the possibility of allowing driver-less cars on Georgia roads is recommending a wait and see approach to the new technology.

Avondale Estates was positioning itself to be one of the first cities to allow testing of the vehicles on its roads. The city’s mayor says the committee’s recommendations are progressive and in-line with the city’s plans.

The House Autonomous Vehicle Technology Study Committee recently published its final report. The report says there are simply too many unknowns about the implications of driver-less cars. The central question is who would be legally responsible if the cars that are envisioned as a safer alternative to driving don’t live up to that promise.

“While some states are rushing to implement new regulations and requirements on autonomous vehicle technology, committee testimony overwhelmingly cautioned against this hurried action,” the report says. “To best promote the development of autonomous vehicle technology states should allow the market to further mature and grow without government intervention. Just as features such as cruise control and anti-braking systems were implemented as the market demanded them, so too can automobile technology continue to improve to the point of driver-less cars.”

In September, Avondale Estates City Commissioners approved a resolution “To establish an ordinance to allow and regulate autonomous vehicle technology in the city of Avondale Estates.”

The resolution authorized the mayor and City Commission, “To pursue research and development of an ordinance allowing the approval of Autonomous Vehicle Technology and to work with State Officials to authorize Avondale Estates as a pilot site for the research, development and manned testing of Autonomous Vehicle Technology, and in doing so, encourage the related technology interests to settle in the city.”

It was an idea of former mayor Ed Rieker,who resigned last year.

Mayor Terry Giager said the city’s resolution, “appears to be in compliance with the committee’s findings.”

“We believe that autonomous cars will benefit our state in fuel consumption, traffic congestion, and safety,” he said. “Technology is advancing rapidly and the state’s recommended stance will not impede that progress. I applaud their forward thinking in this matter.”

Rep. Karla Drenner, Avondale’s representative in the House, also served on the committee. She told Decaturish that the concern about unintended consequences outweighed the potential benefit of moving forward with the technology at this time.

“There was just a whole host of concerns that need to be addressed,” Drenner said.

Read more: This is the report produced by the Autonomous Vehicle Technology Study Committee.

Final Autonomous Vehicle Committee Report

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