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AV Policy Task Force

Secretary Leslie Richards talking at Automated Vehicle event
PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards kicks off the Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Task Force in Pittsburgh in June 2016.

PennDOT has assembled the "Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force" to prepare draft legislative policy recommendations for the testing of automated vehicles in Pennsylvania. The Task Force is made up of a diverse and comprehensive set of stakeholders, including representatives from federal, state and local government, law enforcement, technology companies, higher education, manufacturers, motorists and trucking groups, and academic research institutions.

Pennsylvania's Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force's reviewed its final testing policy in an online public meeting Dec. 12, 2016. If you missed it, view the archived webinar here.

The public comment period has closed. Those who submitted questions or comments will receive a response directly via email. Questions/comments and responses have been compiled here.

The guidance is the result of months of collaboration among state, federal, and private-industry officials — such as the Federal Highway Administration, AAA, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and General Motors — in the Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force.

Among the Task Force’s recommendations:

  • Testers of highly automated vehicles (HAVs) must submit testing proposals to PennDOT and enter contracts attesting that the vehicles meet all federal and state safety standards and meet the policies adopted by PennDOT.
  • PennDOT has to be notified prior to any HAV being used without an operator in fully self-driving mode.
  • PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission may temporarily restrict HAVs from certain routes. Otherwise, HAVs may be tested on any road in the state. Municipalities can also ask PennDOT to temporarily restrict HAVs on local routes.
  • Platooning of HAVs will be restricted to two commercial or three passenger vehicles. However, testers can ask to use more HAVs in platooning, but PennDOT can ask for a safety demonstration first.
  • The HAVs must be able to record data that can be used to investigate crashes involving the HAVs. PennDOT will have access to the data.
  • Testers must certify that cybersecurity protections are in place for the HAVs.
  • PennDOT will collect data on total miles operated by HAVs, total number of hours of operation, and size of HAV fleets. PennDOT may also ask for other information such as counties where HAVs are being tested and percentage of testing done on limited access highways. PennDOT can also ask for information about the economic impact of HAV testing.
  • PennDOT and State Police will make annual reports on HAV testing to the Legislature.