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Pritzker urges caution on driverless vehicles, ABATE wants action against them

Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* ABATE withdrew its endorsement of Gov. Bruce Rauner last year after he issued an executive order allowing relatively easy access to roads by so-called “autonomous” cars and trucks. I received this ABATE release yesterday…

[Monday] at a press conference with the Illinois State Police raising awareness for Scott’s Law, Governor J.B. Pritzker responded to a question on driverless vehicles with remarks urging caution on the implementation and utilization of driverless vehicles. ABATE of Illinois agrees with Governor Pritzker’s remarks, especially with the admission that this technology is “not ready today”. A point so important that the Governor repeated it for emphasis. The Governor even went so far as to say “This is not something that we’re going to authorize sometime soon in the State of Illinois.”

Unfortunately, this unproven technology is currently allowed on Illinois roads with no oversight due to an executive order signed by former Governor Rauner in October of 2018. The order allows robot cars and semi-trucks on Illinois Roads simply by filing a letter with IDOT. ABATE of Illinois calls on Governor Pritzker to rescind that dangerous order, and return the issue of Autonomous Vehicles back to the General Assembly where stakeholders can work together to craft reasonable regulations that protect the safety of all road users in Illinois.

“We certainly need to be careful about the implementation, the utilization of driverless vehicles. They’re not ready today. They’re not ready today. And I know that the tests that I’ve seen have been imperfect at best. And so we’re going to have to wait and see. This is not something that we’re going to authorize sometime soon in the State of Illinois” - J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois

* So, I checked in with the governor’s office. Here’s Jordan Abudayyeh…

The governor was clear in his comments [Monday] and is always open to reviewing proposals brought forth by advocates.

…Adding… A resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Cullerton to disapprove Rauner’s EO was adopted 18-0 by the Senate Transportation Committee on March 5th. It’s now awaiting floor action.


  1. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    “This is not something that we’re going to authorize sometime soon in the State of Illinois”

    Great. Driverless vehicles are insane. Plus, they could be another way for corporations to cut costs via eliminating jobs. Job creators would love that.

  2. - Perrid - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    I very cautiously support this. I agree it’s early for the tech (although no one is actually suggesting true driverless cars right now, people would still be in the drivers seat) and so it needs more oversight, but we shouldn’t kill it outright, which I bet is what ABATE wants.

  3. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    When driverless cars arrive, will we have drivable roads?

    I expect to see driverless tractors before driverless cars.

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    Let it be tested and all the bugs worked out somewhere far from me and mine.

  5. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    Can a driverless car be booted by another driverless car? Are there driverless tow trucks, or can HAL just direct the driverless car to turn itself in to impoundment? Or with an outstanding warrant, could a driverless car be instructed by law enforcement to lock all its doors and deposit the offender at the nearest police station? What promise the future holds(epoint)

  6. - ChicagoVinny - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    I’ve always wondered, of all the things to automate, why is silicon valley fixated on driving.

    For Uber it is a matter of life or death since their business model doesn’t actually work without it, at current pricing.

    But given the amount of effort it will take to truly achieve autonomous driving, and the relatively small amount of labor involved in most transportation already, seems like there’d be more labor-intensive industries with better ROI on automation.

  7. - SKI - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Perrid - ABATE supports the responsible development of Autonomous Vehicles.

    Unfortunately, Rauner signed a very irresponsible Executive Order similar to the one in Arizona which allowed Uber to reduce the sensors used on their Volvos one week before killing a pedestrian.

    ABATE has been involved in stakeholder discussions and industry conferences on the issue. They’ll continue to work with any interested partners to see responsible development of AV technology.

  8. - OutHereInTheMiddle - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    Pretty sure that the first autonomous vehicles on public highways will be tractor-trailers on the interstates. I’m not sure that makes anyone feel any better but that is where the real economic pressures will be.

  9. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    Is the Mars Rover far enough away?

    I think we should grant communities some ability to develop local driverless areas. I am thinking first of retirement communities like Sun City where they might operate in restricted areas.

  10. - Boat captain - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    @bull moose-driverless tractors are already being used.

  11. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    If these ABATE folks are so concerned with their own safety, why don’t they support mandatory helmet laws?

  12. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    Another concern is that they can be used as weapons by terrorists.

  13. - maximus - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    Illinois seems to be very anti-technology. Driverless cars are coming and they are only going to keep improving. Eventually I imagine Indiana/Wisconsin/Iowa/etc will have all the advantages of driverless cars and our own laws will be preventing us from moving forward with the technology.

  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    –Illinois seems to be very anti-technology.–

    LOL, what does that even mean?

  15. - a drop in - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    When someone can show how driverless vehicles can handle sudden unexpected lane closures due to accident, investigations or emergency repairs, them I might listen to favorable arguments.

  16. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    THe most recent stuff I’ve found says they can’t handle construction zones yet, but that’s being worked on

  17. - Huh? - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    Maximus - the hysterical hyperbole has been going on for years. 5 or 6 years ago I got into a flame war with a guy on a chat forum about how “we had to get ready immediately because the automatic cars were coming tomorrow”. It turned out the guy had a vested interest in the technology and he was beating the drum for his own benefit.

    In the past 5 years, the technology has not advanced far enough to permit widespread deployment of the vehicles. The future for the technology is still fuzzy.

    The companies with the test vehicles have not agreed on a universal solution to operate the cars safely on the roads. It is VHS/Beta/dvd/laser disc situation. How are transportation agencies supposed to plan for infrastructure projects when the car companies can’t agree on how the cars are going to interact with the traffic systems? Is IDOT supposed to spend money on the laser disc? What happens if the Beta product wins?

    Once the vehicles are finally being built for the general public, the market penetration will be so small as to have a non-existent impact to the flow of traffic. The cars may as well be painted red. Traffic engineers don’t care about the color of the cars, just the number of vehicles. They care about the object in the traffic stream, no distinction between make, model, style package, drive train or color.

    As I have said before, show me an automatic vehicle driving on a gravel township road in a blinding blizzard. Then the cars will be ready for prime time. Until then, rich boys toys on sunny days.

  18. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    I want might vision.

  19. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    “When someone can show how driverless vehicles can handle sudden unexpected lane closures due to accident, investigations or emergency repairs, them I might listen to favorable arguments.”

    – MrJM

  20. - Groucho - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    Driver-less vehicles are going to happen much sooner than later. I know some people who have rented driver-less cars in California when on vacation. These cars will be safer, as 94% of all accidents are caused by human error (drinking, texting bad decisions, etc…) One huge impact is going to be on our labor force. It seems very likely that over the road trucking is where the first large commercial use of the driver-less technology will be used. There are approximately 2 million OTR drivers currently. In a matter of years 2 million jobs will be wiped out.

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    We need to by-pass ‘driverless vehicles’, and jump to the ‘George Jetson Sky’s The Limit’ airmobile. I’m just now working on a few details (Musk is not taking my calls) - how to safely install mile tall stop lights and hologram billboards. It’s the future, my friends.

  22. - Huh? - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    “Driver-less vehicles are going to happen much sooner than later.”

    That busted saw has been around for hours. What’s it going to be - VHS or DVD?

    Using electric cars as a proxy for automatic vehicles, the market penetration is insignificant compared to conventional vehicles.

    In 2015 there were about 125,000 electric cars produced. Compared to over 12 million conventional vehicles. Traffic engineers won’t even consider the impact of automated vehicles until there is a substantial percentage of the cars on the road.

    So what color car should they be looking for? Chartreuse?

    If you are so confident that automated vehicles are coming, please tell us when they will in the showroom.

  23. - Groucho - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    -Huh- I don’t believe electric cars are a good proxy to the automated vehicle. The electric car was expensive in the beginning and the batteries took up a lot of space in the car. The reliability of the batteries was in question and batteries were expensive to replace. Like many green products, they were not necessarily cost effective. Automatic vehicles, specifically trucks used over the road, will provide big cost gains to the trucking industry. The trucks can basically run 24-7. They will be considerably safer. I would not be surprised if the over the trucks are common in 7 - 10 years. There biggest hurdle will government regulations and union opposition.

  24. - Res Melius - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 5:01 pm:

    “There biggest hurdle will government regulations and union opposition.”

    For trucks, the primary issue for open road travel is proof of concept. Major hurdles are lane/striping recognition, sensor interference, and interacting with fast moving vehicles and changing situations on a real time basis where sensors and GPS are not always 100% functional. The industry is still having issues with automated passenger cars, much less a 40 ton truck going 70 mph down the interstate. Tradeoff - human error vs. technology errors (see 787 Max). As Word says, far from me and mine. 7 - 10 years seems extremely optimistic.

  25. - Res Melius - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 5:02 pm:

    Apologies - 737 Max

  26. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Mar 27, 19 @ 9:46 pm:

    —Eventually I imagine Indiana/Wisconsin/Iowa/etc will have all the advantages of driverless cars and our own laws will be preventing us from moving forward with the technology.

    This strikes me as perfect. Let them deal with the accidents (Or Arizona as is actually happening) and problems and then when they are ready for actual road use, allow them on Illinois roads. Let Arizona risk it’s population and then when ready it will be quick to change.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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