Ohio opens its roads up to self-driving car testing

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Ohio opens its roads up to self-driving car testing

Ohio has become the latest state to open its roads for testing self-driving vehicles, in a boost to a nascent industry that has been facing increased scrutiny after a well-publicized death involving Uber’s self-driving car testing.

In Ohio, self-driving vehicles will have to meet safety requirements and comply with the state’s traffic laws, Republican Governor John Kasich said in an executive order. It allows companies to test on any public road in the state, including without a driver behind the wheel. A licensed driver does need to at least monitor the vehicle remotely and “have the ability to avoid accidents if the car’s system fails,” according to Bloomberg.

While announcing the order, Kasich said he wants Ohio to be the “wild, wild west” for self-driving car testing.

“We have to move forward and we have to invest in this technology,” Kasich said, as reported by Automotive News. “Computers do not comb their hair. Computers do not text. Computers do not talk on cellphones … And this technology, which is going to be the 21st century technology, is going to save lives.”

Autonomous vehicle testing is also under way in Michigan, Pittsburgh, Arizona and California.

The Ohio order mandates that the self-driving vehicles register with Drive Ohio, created by Kasich in January.

(Additional reporting and text by Reuters)

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