Gov. Walker’s Autonomous Vehicle Committee Releases Final Report

At the end of June, the Governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment submitted their final report to the governor. The report is a required deliverable under Executive Order #245. For the past nine months the steering committee convened monthly to hear presentations from a variety of stakeholders and discuss the impact of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in Wisconsin.

The report set forth a series of recommendations to meet the requirements under Executive Order #245. The primary recommendation from the committee is to remove or amend Wisconsin laws that are barriers to safe testing and distribution of CAVs in Wisconsin. The report identifies current Wisconsin state statutes that are potential barriers for CAV deployment in the state. The committee’s report includes another recommendation urging the legislature to authorize a CAV testing framework and requirements to allow manufacturers to test on public roads.

The secondary recommendation of the steering committee is to create an ongoing working group to stay up to date on the latest CAV testing and deployment activity. The committee’s report provides details on the CAV technology and notes the tremendous pace at which it continues to evolve. The working group will ensure a timely response to pressing CAV issues and can advise the governor’s office as needed. The report includes a list of short and long-term issues for the working group to consider.

Another notable recommendation from the committee identifies the Department of Transportation (WisDOT) as Wisconsin’s lead agency for all CAV related issues. The report identifies several future functions for WisDOT, including the development of a permit process for manufacturers to test and deploy CAVs on Wisconsin’s public roads. In addition, WisDOT may consider additional licensing and training for the operation of CAVs, modify vehicle registration requirements, manage infrastructure priorities, and manage the role of the State Patrol. The report also details the role other state agencies may have in CAV deployment, including the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Department of Administration and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The remaining three recommendations include a recognition of various reports from U.S. Department of Transportation and American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators regarding regulatory roles and CAV equipment standards; the promotion of Wisconsin as “Open for CAV Deployment”; and the engagement of strategic partnerships through the established working group.

While the Steering Committee is officially disbanded with the submission of the report, it is expected the process to deploy CAVs in Wisconsin will continue through the working group and next legislative session.

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