Colorado Passes Law That Allows Testing of Self-Driving Cars

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【Summary】The state of Colorado has taken the first step to an autonomous future by passing a law to allow the companies and automakers to test vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 08, 2017 10:00 AM PT
Colorado Passes Law That Allows Testing of Self-Driving Cars

As of right now, automakers and companies looking to test autonomous vehicles in the United States are confined to a few states – California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and more recently, New York. The majority of companies, including Uber and Waymo conduct the better part of their testing in Silicon Valley, Calif., as the state was one of the first to allow the testing of self-driving cars. 

Another States Opens Its Doors

Now, automakers and companies can conduct their research in another state – Colorado. As The Denver Post reports, Colorado passed a law that allows driverless cars to roam the roads. According to a legislation that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law, companies and automakers can legally test vehicles on Colorado's streets, as long as they follow existing rules. 

"It's hard to get the right balance between regulation and avoiding the red tape that sometimes stifles innovation," said Hickenlooper, reports the outlet. "This is the right balance that allows Colorado to be a hotbed of innovation." 

The law doesn't go into the exact details on how autonomous cars should operate in Colorado, but provides a base for how the vehicles should be safely tested. For example, individuals in self-driving vehicles must have their seatbelts fastened when the car is moving, claims sponsor state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs. 

"We were very clear in writing the law that we're not changing any of those other laws," said Hill. Obviously, seatbelts is one of them. Turning indicators, moving aside for emergency vehicles – all of those vehicles still have to be followed." 

Requiring passengers in self-driving cars to put their seatbelts on is a no-brainer. When driverless cars and regular, human-operated vehicles are sharing the road, something bad is bound to happen. Autonomous cars are meant to be safer than ones that are operated by humans, but that doesn't mean they're to avoid getting into an accident, as one of Uber's self-driving Volvo's found out earlier this year. 

Colorado Sets Rules, But Keeps The Door Open

Besides providing some basic groundwork for autonomous cars, the law also requires companies and automakers that are planning to test self-driving vehicles in the state to interact with the State Patrol, as well as the state Department of Transportation before unleashing their driverless cars, claims The Denver Post

With the new law, Colorado becomes the 17th state to pass legislation allowing self-driving cars to operate freely in the state. Hickenlooper even signed the bill at Majorie Park's Museum of Outdoor Arts in Greenwood Village, Colo. on the hood of a Chevrolet Bolt fitted with self-driving equipment, states the outlet. 

The bill was met with some opposition, as one would expect, as the outlet claims that opponents expressed concerns in regard to safety and wanted the bill to include some language that included the need for a backup human driver. Some individuals and organizations that opposed the bill, though, like Advocacy Denver, see the upsides to driverless cars, including their ability to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities, claims The Denver Post

As the outlet points out, Colorado already has large technology companies, like Panasonic, looking to create a smart city in the state. With the state's latest bill, giving automakers and companies the green light to test autonomous cars, a smart city seems like a possibility. 

via: The Denver Post Photo By: The Denver Post

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