N.J. paving the way for self-driven cars

New Jersey could become the third state to permit the testing and licensing of self-driving vehicles. This doesn’t mean you can go buy one anytime soon, but the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee has advanced a measure to establish standards for the development and licensing of self-driving cars.

Michael Scrudato with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton says human error accounts for 90 percent of all accidents and automated cars could reduce accident-related costs.

“We’re already seeing the decline in reported accidents and injuries from technologies considered to be the building blocks of autonomous driving such as automated breaking, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control,” he said.

Alain Kornhauser is an operations research and financial engineering professor at Princeton University. He says the technology could  eventually be good enough so motorist don’t have to constantly focus on driving.

“That when we’re on the New Jersey Turnpike the paint is on the road is good enough, the car goes knows where the lane is and it will keep us in the lane and will keep is from colliding with the vehicle ahead, and we can sit there and do the things that we need to do and text if we want to text or just relax,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says the legislation he introduced could provide a new use for Fort Monmouth by having the technology tested there.

“We’re really trying to make sure that the number of crashes go down on our roads using technology to help in that so it’s a safety component,” he said.

He says autonomous vehicles could eventually benefit the disabled and senior citizens who don’t have access to public transportation or may not be fit to drive.

Craig Orlan with Honda North America says the legislation is premature and believes the proposed regulations could stifle innovation.

“We don’t know exactly how that technology is going to look in 10, 15 years. We feel that if you get too far ahead of regulations, you’re going to stifle innovation, you’re going to keep people from wanting to come where there’s regulation.”

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