Pennsylvanians aren’t always accustomed to having our Commonwealth positioned on the leading edge of technological advancement, but the Keystone State is a national leader in development of autonomous vehicles.

Thanks to Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and PennDOT, the quest for a safer, more efficient, congestion-reducing driverless car is moving along, and probably at a much faster pace than many people realize. Additionally, the General Assembly is considering legislation that would govern the development and testing of the necessary technology.

Just this month, Pennsylvania’s newly established Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force met for the first time as it takes on development of Pennsylvania’s driverless vehicle policy.

Many of the features that eventually will be incorporated into autonomous vehicles are already available in the marketplace. Dozens of vehicle models have features that can sense and react to traffic conditions, braking or slowing down when necessary, avoiding collisions, etc.

CMU has been working on self-driving cars for more than 30 years. The university has created 14 generations of self-driving vehicles, the latest of which is a 2011 Cadillac SRX that takes ramps, merges onto highways, and cruises at 70 mph by itself. It won’t be long until such vehicles become a reality.

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