Jeremiah W. Nixon, Missouri Governor vetoes platoon program for testing automated long-haul trucks using platooning technology.
In a recent story about the governor’s veto, Heavy Duty Trucking magazine elaborated on the reasons behind it.
In a letter explaining his veto, Gov. Nixon said that establishing a pilot program for testing platooning vehicles on Missouri highways could put the public at risk. He specifically referenced an accident involving a self-driving Tesla car that led to the death of an Ohio man as an example of the danger automated driving technology could pose.
“Automated driving technology advanced significantly within the last several years. However, the long-term safety and reliability of this technology remains unproven,” Nixon stated. “That fact was tragically highlighted with the recent fatality involving a self-driving passenger vehicle.”
According to Heavy Duty Trucking, in the May 7 Tesla incident driver Joshua Brown died while using the Autopilot feature of his Tesla Model S.
A white tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection, but the autopilot failed to “see” the vehicle and did not brake. The Autopilot’s cameras were unable to recognize the white trailer against a brightly lit sky.
However, Governor Nixon felt platooning posed an even greater risk to the public. It requires multiple large trucks to travel in tandem with little separation and synchronized braking and acceleration.
“The risks associated with automated vehicles are even greater considering the size of long-haul trucks and the catastrophic damage that could occur if the technology failed,” he stated. “Using Missouri highways as a testing ground for long-haul trucks to deploy this unproven technology is simply a risk not worth taking at this time.”
Read the full Heavy Duty Trucking story here.
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