In light of recent highly publicized incidents of accidents involving self driving vehicles the state of Missouri has decided to cancel their proposed pilot platooning program.
Transport Topics reports that Governor Jay Nixon vetoed HB 1733, which would have waived the 300-foot following distance for commercial trucks connected by wireless technology as part of a 6 year pilot program. The bill was supported by the Missouri Trucking Association, and had already been passed by the Missouri legislature.
In a statement on July 8th Gov. Nixon wrote that “Automated driving technology has advanced significantly within the last several years; however, the long-term safety and reliability of this technology remains unproven…That fact was tragically highlighted with the recent fatality involving a self-driving passenger vehicle. The risk associated with automated vehicles are even greater considering the size of long-haul trucks and the catastrophic damage that could occur if the technology fails. Using Missouri as a testing ground for long-haul trucks to deploy this unproven technology is simply not a risk worth taking at this time.”
MDOT assistant resident engineer James Pflum had advocated for the bill previously, telling Transport Topics that “We’ve opened up 200 miles of I-70 as a laboratory for innovation. We said to the world, ‘If you have an innovative idea, come to us. If we like it, we’ll try it.’ ”