Connecticut Senate Approves Pilot Program for Testing Autonomous Vehicles
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Connecticut Senate Approves Pilot Program for Testing Autonomous Vehicles

A bipartisan bill sponsored by state Sen. Carlo Leone creates a pilot program in four Connecticut cities to test self-driving vehicles.

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Connecticut has become the latest state to give the green light to testing of driverless cars.

A bipartisan bill sponsored by state Sen. Carlo Leone creates a pilot program in four Connecticut cities to test self-driving vehicles.

“This is the wave of the future, no doubt, and I want Stamford and other cities in Connecticut to be a part of the transportation technology revolution,” Leone said. “This is going to be a very safe and structured pilot program, and in the long term I think the effects of this technology are going to be as revolutionary as the invention of the airplane or the car itself. It will also bring technology-driven investments and businesses to Connecticut to help boost our economy.

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The bill now heads to the Connecticut House of Representatives for consideration. If passed there, and signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy, it would take effect immediately.

Senate Bill 260 allows Connecticut to establish a pilot program for up four municipalities to allow manufacturers to test autonomous vehicles on those municipalities’ local roads. Once selected, a city leader would enter into a written agreement with an autonomous-vehicle tester and specify what routes the vehicle would take in town; identify the autonomous vehicles by vehicle identification number, make, year and model; and specify their hours of operation.

All driverless vehicles in the pilot program would require a licensed and insured human operator in the driver’s seat, monitoring the operation of the vehicle and capable of taking “immediate manual control” of the vehicle if necessary.

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Under terms of the bill, a pilot program could be cancelled if authorities determine that the testing poses a public safety risk.

The bill also creates a task force to study the use of fully autonomous vehicles in Connecticut.

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