Hawaii gives self-driving car testing the green light – Roadshow

Automakers are now free to test their AVs in Hawaii.

Ford

Automakers have another state in which to test self-driving cars. Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 2590 last Tuesday giving companies and automakers the ability to test autonomous cars on Hawaii's public roads. The approved and signed legislation gives automakers three years to start testing their latest prototypes.

StateScoop first reported on the signing of the legislation, which was introduced in January of this year. As for the three-year timeline, the Hawaii Department of Transportation will be required to draw up and submit a progress report to inform legislators and the public whether the program is successful. Lawmakers can then work on additional legislation to ensure autonomous car testing is safe for the public, should the report reveal any major issues. But, effective immediately, the state's DoT can begin issuing AV permits.

Unlike some of the 29 other states that now permit autonomous vehicle testing in some form, Hawaii will require a human operator inside the vehicle at all times. In other states, such as California, a human operator does not need to be present inside the vehicle as it tests.

Gov. Ige noted Hawaii is an attractive state to test autonomous cars since it doesn't share a border with any other state. Companies can test their AVs freely without worrying about crossing state lines and potentially operating under a different set of regulations. I mean, if I were testing AVs, Hawaii seems like an attractive location just because of the climate.

Despite more state acceptance of AV testing, the US lacks a national regulatory policy for autonomous cars. Instead, 29 states enforce their own regulations through separate pieces of legislation. Numerous questions remain in so many areas of self-driving cars' operation, but even as companies continue to test them, we're still a long time away from a robotaxi picking you up on the street.

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