If the term “automated vehicles” makes you think of the distant future, you might be in for a surprise. The future of AVs was the focus of a statewide summit Monday in State College.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards said AVs offer opportunities for boosting safety and the economy. That includes reducing traffic deaths.
“With 94 percent of those fatalities being attributed to human distraction, we know that AV and connected vehicle technology is going to allow us to reduce that number in a big way, many think to zero,” Richards said.
Richards was the keynote speaker at the state’s first Automated Vehicle Summit.
The summit drew researchers, transportation officials, public officials, experts and planners.
Among them was Stan Caldwell, executive director of Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He said the transformation to automated vehicles is already underway.
“I always say we’re going to look back one day and say ‘When did we quit driving?’ and not really know,” Caldwell said.
In Pittsburgh, Caldwell noted, the public has already used AVs in the form of automated Ubers.