CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Bill 4675 is a measure that develop state regulations for autonomous delivery vehicles.
On MetroNews “Talkline”, lead sponsor, Clay Riley, R-Harrison County, said programs are under development in many cities across the country and the use is growing.
Because of that growth, Riley believes state lawmakers need to establish the “rules of the road” before the technology is introduced in the state.
“There was nothing that regulated how they needed to operate or what kind of insurance they needed,” Riley said. “How can we do this, protect our public and provide a good service as well?”
The autonomous concept is being tested by a variety of retail companies. Domino’s Pizza is currently testing the system in Houston, Texas.
“It’s about a 100 or 200 pound vehicle that it can roll right down the sidewalk and it has insurance,” Riley said. “They’re able to come to your house and drop it off so you can get your medicine.”
Last year, FedEx Corp. announced plans to begin testing the Nuro R2. Nuro is the most advanced autonomous vehicle companies in the country and has regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“There are some autonomous delivery vehicles that are actually in the testing and pilot stage,” Riley said. “Memphis is one.”
Other tests are being conducted in El Paso, Texas and Palm Springs, California.
Riley said now is the time to layout the framework for how these systems should operate.
“The impetus to put a framework in is because there was nothing so as we started to see these around the country and I was traveling around I thought we should do this in West Virginia.”
Riley wants the state to not just be ready for the technology, but to put the state in a position to maximize the opportunity.
“The concept of this came from setting up some regulatory framework that would allow West Virginia to get out in advance of this, so we could be on the cutting edge of these types of delivery systems,” Riley said.