Governor Kasich Ok’s Use, Testing of Self-Driving Vehicles

Ohio has joined a few other states that have ok’d the use and testing of autonomous vehicles on its roadways, according to

Ohio’s public roads and highways are open to autonomous vehicle testing as mandated in an executive order recently signed by Gov. John Kasich. To participate in autonomous vehicle testing, companies must register their vehicles with DriveOhio and comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards.

DriveOhio, housed within the Ohio Department of Transportation, is a partnership of public agencies, private firms and research groups that develops and tests autonomous technologies. Companies also must provideDriveOhio with a report outlining their approach to safe testing to participate in the program, which extends to cars and trucks.

According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, Kasich cited the safety benefits of autonomous driving systems. The National Safety Council found that more than 37,000 people died in accidents on roadways in 2016.

“Ohio is well-positioned to lead in developing the cars of the future, and just as the Wright Brothers did at Huffman Prairie, our great state stands ready to once again launch a new era in transportation,” Kasich said in a statement. “We have the diversity in weather and terrain that are essential to advancing these new technologies.”

Autonomous testing already is prevalent in certain places in Ohio, such as the Transportation Research Center 50 miles northwest of Columbus and a stretch of U.S. Route 33, which has been deemed a “smart corridor.” The Transportation Research Center is an independent facility that specializes in testing crash avoidance, automobile defects and cybersecurity issues. The corridor along U.S. 33 is part of Ohio’s larger Smart Mobility Initiative, a collaboration among ODOT, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and various universities. In December 2016, ODOT tested a self-driving truck along U.S. 33, with a driver in the cab to intervene if necessary.

A fatal accident in Arizona this past spring it caused Gov. Doug Ducey to pull back hard on what was originally a very liberal set of rules pertaining to autonomous vehicles in Arizona. Although Arizona was the eventual landing spot for driverless vehicle testing after California instituted too many regulations to suit the various car testing companies, California has since re-opened some testing on their roadways.