COLUMBUS — Autonomous and connected vehicles will improve safety, change traffic patterns and cut down on transportation times in Ohio, according to a report released this week by the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.
The 100-page report is the result of a 14-month study by the committee.
“Autonomous and connected vehicle technology is the opening salvo of the next space race, involving the emerging technologies of the 21st century,” Rep. Doug Green, R-Mount Orab, chairman of the committee, said in a news release. “We must ensure that America, and Ohio in particular, maintains its leadership in advanced technologies, much like our predecessors did in the 1960s.”
The study looks at potential benefits and challenges; how the industry could impact Ohio’s economy, manufacturing, public safety, insurance, and infrastructure; and a review of research, testing, federal testing and industry activity in Ohio. More than 50 industry leaders, policy think tanks and others from around the country participated in the committee’s findings for the report.
Autonomous and connected vehicle technology could drive workforce development across the Buckeye state, but it also raises questions for the legislature, the report said.
“How does the General Assembly maximize this new technology’s benefits while mitigating its negative secondary socioeconomic effects? The General Assembly must carefully consider how dramatically this technology may change transportation, infrastructure and employment,” the report said.
The report details three responsibilities the legislature and the governor must fulfill for Ohio to be a leader in this emerging technology:
• Ohio must keep a “burdensome-free regulatory environment” for the development, testing and deployment of autonomous and connected vehicles.
• Ohio needs to focus on building the infrastructure to enable this type of technology.
• Ohio needs to prepare the workforce for changing jobs.
The report recommends that the legislature should codify Gov. John Kasich’s executive order allowing statewide testing of autonomous and connected vehicle technology, and create an Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Task Force.
Kasich signed an executive order in May designed to attract more autonomous-vehicle testing on Ohio’s roads, and Ohio’s first autonomous shuttle opened to the public last week in Columbus.