Wisconsin Paves a Clear Path For Autonomous Vehicle Testing

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【Summary】Instead of taking a back-seat approach to a driverless future, Wisconsin has decided to take control by removing barriers that stopped driverless cars from testing in the state.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 11, 2017 9:05 AM PT
Wisconsin Paves a Clear Path For Autonomous Vehicle Testing

The U.S. has taken a different approach than the rest of the world when it comes to autonomous cars. The U.S. Department of Transportation may have released 15 safety rules for automakers and companies developing driverless vehicles late last year, but the government is letting individual states handle how everyone tests their vehicles.

Some states have taken a proactive approach, making companies apply for a special permit and adhering to strict rules, like California, while others have yet to put anything in place. In the hopes of setting the record straight once and for all, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed an executive order that paves a clear, unobstructed path for companies and automakers to test their driverless vehicles in the state, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.  

Executive Order Puts Wisconsin On The Map

The executive order that Walker signed builds upon the U.S. Department of Transportation's designation of the UW-Madison College of Engineer as one of just 10 national proving grounds for driverless cars. 

Walker's Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment will advise the governor on the ideal way to promote autonomous testing in the state, claims the outlet. The committee will be comprised of members from various industries, including technology, academia, and regulatory, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. The outlet also states that the committee will build upon the UW's Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory as the location to develop autonomous cars. 

"The removal of barriers to the testing and deployment of automated and connected vehicle technology in Wisconsin may produce significant social, economic, environmental, and innovative benefits including enhancing mobility, creating jobs and improving transportation efficiency," reads the executive order.

The executive order isn't the only thing Wisconsin is doing to promote the testing of self-driving cars, though, as the state has entered into various partnerships to the driverless tech to the streets. The TOPS lab, as the Wisconsin State Journal states, at UW-Madison has plans to collaborate with MGA Research, a company that's based out of New York, to utilize a 400-acre plot of land that has existing roadways, crash-testing facilities, along with the Road America track. 

Why Wisconsin Is A Great Place To Test Driverless Cars

While Wisconsin is doing a lot to attract companies testing self-driving cars to the state, there's a lot that's already in place that makes the state an attractive testing ground. The outlet points towards the numerous automotive suppliers that have set up bases in the state, which include Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation, and Johnson Controls to name a few. 

The weather in the state also tends to be quite extreme, which would be a true test for driverless vehicles and their various sensors. And the last two, as the outlet states, include the insurance industry in the state monitoring an autonomous future and the trucking industry. 

Will Wisconsin become the go-to location to test autonomous cars? Only time can answer that question, but one things' for sure, Wisconsin is ready for a driverless future, which can only help the state and the automotive industry. 

via: Wisconsin State Journal

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