Legislation to permit testing and use of autonomous vehicles in New Jersey was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt & Daniel R. Benson.
“New Jersey has a history of being at the forefront of innovation, and as new transportation technology emerges, we must continue in that tradition,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Developing guidance for testing self-driving cars in New Jersey will allow manufacturers to figure out what challenges these vehicles may face on our roads and how to resolve those challenges early on so that motorists here can safely operate driverless vehicles as soon as they become available to the general public.”
“This bill will help lead to implementing standards governing the use of driverless cars and put the automotive industry, state and local public safety officials and motorists on the same page,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “There are inevitable changes coming to the auto industry, and the sooner New Jersey can step out in front of them and help create rules that keep everyone safe, the better off we’ll be.”
The bill (A-3745) would permit the testing and use of driverless vehicles in New Jersey.
Under the legislation, a driverless vehicle may be tested by a licensed individual provided the following requirements are met:
•the vehicle is being operated on a public road solely by employees, contractors or others designated by the manufacturer of the autonomous technology or vehicle;
•the operator is seated in the driver’s seat, monitoring the safe operation of the vehicle, and is capable of taking over immediate manual control in the event of a technology failure or other emergency; and
•prior to the start of testing in New Jersey, the manufacturer performing the testing obtains an instrument of insurance, surety bond or proof of self-insurance in the amount of $5 million and provides evidence thereof to the MVC.
Prior to testing, the manufacturer also must apply for permission from the MVC. The application would include the manufacturer’s certification that: the technology controlling the vehicle may be easily engaged or disengaged by the operator; the vehicle has a visual indicator that shows when the autonomous technology is engaged; the vehicle alerts the operator and either requires the operator’s control or stops completely in the event of a technological failure; when necessary, the vehicle allows the operator to control the vehicle using, at minimum, a brake, accelerator or steering wheel; the vehicle and autonomous technology meet state and federal safety and performance standards; and the vehicle has a data recorder that captures sensor data for at least 30 seconds prior to a collision. The manufacture also must have tested its technology on private or out-of-state roads prior to testing it in New Jersey.
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.