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Pennsylvania House Passes Autonomous Driving Bill

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June 22, 2022—The Pennsylvania House on Monday passed a bill that would allow autonomous vehicle companies to test and deploy driverless vehicles without a safety driver.

According to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the bill was passed by a 123-77 vote and will now move to the senate for final approval. If the bill receives the green light, it would go into effect sometime this year.

Several lawmakers, including Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) who introduced the bill, per the report said that Pennsylvania has been surpassed as a leader in autonomous driving, and this bill is designed to changed that.

“What we’ve found is we were in the forefront,” Rep. Oberlander said. “We then saw such great advances that 22 other states decided they wanted to be a part of the game. Now they’ve leapfrogged in front of us.”

Pittsburgh has already seen several AV companies such as Argo AI and Aurora Innovation invest billions into the city, and southwest Pennsylvania has seen around 6,300 jobs created and $651 million in labor income generated from autonomous vehicle companies.

Proponents of the bill hope it will reduce traffic fatalities and help address the ongoing truck driver shortage in the state.

The bill, should it pass, would incur an estimated $400,000 one-time cost for the state's transportation department to "upgrade its systems and pay consultants to roll out the program."

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