New York law requiring hand on wheel stymies pace of self-driving cars

In New York, self-driving vehicles are coming at a far slower pace. And that could put the Empire State at a disadvantage in the years ahead, whether for manufacturing and research opportunities or where self-driving cars and trucks get marketed.

In Arizona, Google’s spinoff company is looking to enroll hundreds of people for free rides in self-driving vehicles.

In California, 36 companies — including Intel, Toyota, Uber and Ford – have been approved over the past three years to conduct tests on autonomous vehicles.

In Ohio, workers are laying fiber-optic cables and sensors on a 35-mile stretch of road so driverless vehicles can someday communicate with each other on traffic, weather and other information.

But in New York, self-driving vehicles are coming at a far slower pace. And that could put the Empire State at a disadvantage in the years ahead, whether for manufacturing and research opportunities or where self-driving cars and trucks get marketed.

The most serious bow to autonomous vehicles came in this spring’s state budget, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers approved a one-year, limited test program on state roads.

Yet with the 365-day testing window now one-third over, only one company — Audi — has signed up to test in New York. It brought one of its vehicles to the state in June, but only for a show-and-tell event outside the state Capitol as an education stop for lawmakers and officials.

The News contacted more than a half-dozen people involved in the nation’s autonomous vehicle industry, and they all raised concerns about New York’s sloth-like path to driverless vehicles.

Here’s the big roadblock in New York: This is the only state that requires drivers to have at least one hand on the steering mechanism of any moving vehicle. Left unchanged, the law sends a chilling message to the auto industry, executives say.

Veröffentlichung:
03. August 2017

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