Autonomous Vehicle Task Force To Guide State On New Technology

Jul 18, 2018

Connecticut’s autonomous vehicles task force held its first meeting on Tuesday in Hartford to plan for a future with self-driving cars.

State Senator Carlo Leone, a Democrat from Stamford, is a co-chair of the task force. He says it’s not a matter of if there will be autonomous vehicles, but when.

“You see this progression happening one way or the other. Our goal is to be working alongside with it, and creating business opportunities for emerging technologies to be here in Connecticut, and participate and hopefully have our infrastructure and our economy benefit as a result.”

One issue the 15-member group addressed was cybersecurity. Representative Emmett Riley, a Norwich Democrat, says his main concern is that the vehicles could be hacked.

“If things are hacked, if cars are tampered with in a way, that would be detrimental. I think it would be a very scary situation for citizens, walking on the streets, riding bikes, whatever it may be. I certainly think we should focus on the safety of what these things can or cannot do.”      

Dora Schriro, the commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, says her department has been working on that issue.

“We have recently formed a cybersecurity investigative unit, and this will be another area where we will have to fortify our skills to ensure that this does not become an instrument of harm to others.”   

The task force will study autonomous vehicles and work to develop legislative recommendations to regulate them. It will also evaluate the state’s pilot program, which will select four municipalities to test these vehicles on local roads and highways.  

Leone says the group will meet once more before the 2019 legislative session.