Senate and House Committees Announce Hearing on Autonomous Vehicle Testing

HARRISBURG– The Senate and House Transportation Committees will hold a joint hearing to gather information on “Highly Automated Vehicles,” also known as autonomous vehicles, driverless cars, self-driving cars, etc.  The committees will focus on Senate Bill 427, which creates standards for the testing of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV) on roadways in the Commonwealth.

The hearing will take place Tuesday, March 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Capitol Complex, Harrisburg. 

“Autonomous and connected vehicles will be integrated in the next generation of our transportation system,” stated Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.  “One of the primary reasons for Senate Bill 427 is to test the incorporation of this advanced technology on our roadways that provides for safety, mobility, innovation and economic development.”

“Automated vehicles will play a significant role in the future of transportation,” House Chairman Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) said. “It’s important that we understand all of the ramifications of testing them here.”   

The Senate and House Transportation committees will take testimony from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police, Carnegie Mellon University, Uber, General Motors, the Global Automakers, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.

In conjunction with the joint hearing, Carnegie Mellon University and Uber will showcase their HAVs on North Street between the North Office Building and the Commonwealth Keystone Building from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  No test drives will be available.

Pennsylvania is receiving international attention by transportation policymakers, highway safety professionals, research institutions, vehicle manufacturers and technology providers since legal HAV testing is occurring primarily in the City of Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University and Uber. 

Under existing Pennsylvania law – which never anticipated and, therefore, is silent on HAV technology – it is lawful to operate HAVs on the roadways, provided there is a licensed driver at the steering wheel ready to take control of the vehicle.

House Transportation Committee Contact:  Eric Bugaile, 717-787-6409
Senate Transportation Committee Contact:  Nolan Ritchie, 717-787-1398 / /