Texas forms task force geared at autonomous vehicle development
Road to unmanned driving
Self-driving cars are en route to Texas, and the state government wants to ensure Texas is ready for the ride. The Texas Department of Transportation announced the creation of a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force on Jan. 24.
The CAV Task Force will focus on being a comprehensive resource for information on all Texas CAV projects, investments, and initiatives, the press release says. The organization will also host events surrounding CAV progress and education around the topic.
"With our world-class universities, top-notch workforce and startup culture, Texas is a national leader in the development of new technologies," says Gov. Greg Abbott in the release. "As transportation technology advances, the CAV Task Force will ensure that the Lone Star State remains at the forefront of innovation."
TxDOT's interest, the release reports, is in hopes that the self-driving technology will minimize accidents and maximize safety, as well as expand opportunities for residents, especially within the elderly and disabled populations who currently don't have reliable transportation to their errands and appointments.
In 2017, in the 85th Texas Legislative Session, Abbot signed Senate Bill 2205 into law. The legislation identifies key requirements for CAVs, such as insurance and adhering to traffic laws, like normal vehicles, as well as requiring video recording devices in the car, the Texas Tribune reported. However, it's worth nothing that self-driving vehicles were already being experimented with in Austin by the likes of Google, the Tribune notes.
"Our goal is to further build on the momentum already established with the Texas Technology Task Force and the Texas Innovation Alliance, and work with interested parties on the latest and greatest in CAV projects and enhancements," says TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. "We look forward to furthering these important efforts as connected and autonomous vehicles become reality."
TxDOT is also focusing on rail planning, as the Houston-Dallas high-speed rail chugs along. Earlier this month, the state asked for Texans' feedback on the projects.