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Missouri ends platooning pilot after self-driving car death

Posted: July 13, 2016 by Today's Trucking Staff

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri has vetoed its pilot program to allow testing of driver-assistive truck platooning technology on state highways, with the state’s governor saying that Tesla’s recent self-driving car fatality “tragically highlighted” how the “technology remains unproven.”Three semi-autonomous Mercedes tractor-trailers form a three truck platoon

Missouri’s HB1733 bill would have allowed for six years of testing for platooning technology. It had already passed through both levels of the state’s legislature.

On July 8, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon wrote, “The risk associated with automated vehicles are even greater considering the size of long-haul trucks and the catastrophic damage that could occur if the technology fails. Using Missouri as a testing ground for long-haul trucks to deploy this unproven technology is simply not a risk worth taking at this time.”

Nixon added: “That fact was tragically highlighted with the recent fatality involving a self-driving passenger vehicle.”

State law now prohibits truck and bus drivers from following another such vehicle within 300 feet.

 The May 7 self-driving car crash in Florida, which occurred with a transport truck, was the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where autopilot was activated, Tesla said in a June 30 statement.

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