Ohio Governor John Kasich signs executive order authorizing autonomous vehicle testing in Ohio

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On May 9, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich signed an executive order to authorize autonomous vehicle testing in Ohio.

The executive order also seeks to “lay out a roadmap” for how the automotive industry can go about testing technologies in the state.

“Ohio is well positioned to lead in developing the cars of the future, and just as Wright Brothers did at Huffman Prairie, our great state stands ready to once again launch a new era in transportation,” Kasich said.

“We have the diversity in weather and terrain that are essential to advancing these new technologies. The sooner these vehicles are safely fine-tuned, the sooner they can make a significant reduction in the 40,000 traffic deaths we have in this country every year.”

The executive order authorizes researchers to test on the state’s roadways “as long as their vehicles meet certain safety requirements and are capable of complying with Ohio traffic regulations.”

The order also requests that researchers register their vehicles with DriveOhio, which is a recently launched initiative aimed at bringing together those that build infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing the advanced mobility technologies needed to allow Ohio's transportation system to reach its full potential. By registering their vehicles with DriveOhio, researchers would provide information on their vehicle and where they wish to test.

During the testing of these vehicles, a designated operator—with a valid driver’s license—who is an employee of the company performing the tests must be present in the vehicle. Those operators will be required to monitor the vehicle at all times and report any accidents that occur.

The executive order also creates a voluntary Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program, which is meant to help local governments in working with automotive and technology companies to “advance technologies in their communities.” Municipalities will get the chance to work with DriveOhio and create an inventory of testing locations that offer a diverse set of traffic and terrain scenarios.

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