During the next few weeks, New York’s state budget for 2019 should be finalized. We hope it continues to support autonomous vehicle testing in New York, keeping New York at the forefront of transportation innovation.
Incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads is not only essential to technological progress, but it also will make our roads safer in the long run. The AV-related accident in Arizona earlier this week is a tragic illustration of the fact that all cars can be dangerous. More than 40,000 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016 in the United States. We strongly believe autonomous driving will help us lower this number because it can mitigate human error. The only way we can perfect the technology is to continue testing it—with robust safety protections.
Historically, New York’s laws have made it difficult to test AVs—we have an antiquated law on the books requiring that all cars be driven at all times with one hand on the wheel. That was until last year, when Governor Cuomo signed New York's first-ever legislation to allow autonomous vehicle testing on our roads. In October, we showed our support for New York State’s plan to let Cruise Automation and GM anchor themselves in New York for testing AV technology. Now, Governor Cuomo's 2018 legislation to extend this law could be passed in the budget. We urge the legislature to do so, so our state can remain on the cutting edge of transportation technology.
From landmark investments in broadband and policies to support emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles, solar panels, and drones, New York is helping advance U.S. innovation. We look forward to working with Albany to continue to grow New York as a hub for tech, particularly with respect to transportation, and we look forward to collaborating to find ways to benefit the Empire State now and for years to come.