Lobbyists Could Stall Self-Driving Cars in New Hampshire
A self-driving car world is getting closer, and testing is set to take place here in New Hampshire. However, lobbying on behalf of the autonomous vehicle industry could keep it from becoming a reality.
According to the Union Leader, Representative Steven Smith says the measure has been in working motion for the last three years, but has hit a few last minute snags, as a result of lobbyists. "All of a sudden, they're peppering us with model legislation at the end of a three-year period in the last two weeks," he said in the article.
House Bill 314 cleared the House on a voice vote earlier this year, according to the Union Leader. In the article, Smith stated the lobbyists were trying to expand the bill from testing, to also include deployment of self driving vehicles. The two are much different, and Smith is not willing to move.
"I am not going to write a deployment package for a car that doesn't exist. I hope that they test here, but ultimately, my first job is public safety and a responsible test framework," he said in the article.
The bill which passed would allow application with the Department of Safety for an "autonomous vehicle testing license," according to the Union Leader. That person/entity would put up a $10 million insurance or security bond, while providing testing dates. After the tests, they agree to share safety data with New Hampshire. Test vehicles would be escorted.
Why New Hampshire? Officials site the varied terrain and road conditions, according to the article.. They are hoping to be able to test without escorted vehicles, which they say hinders the test, and stated in the article, "that to us seems an overly complicated requirement," the Union Leader states.
Smith told the Union Leader testing without the escort is "not negotiable, you need eyes on it while it's being tested."