Buckle up: Annual briefing to discuss pros, cons of autonomous vehicles in Pa.


This undated image provided by Cruise shows a rendering of an unorthodox electric vehicle called “Origin,” being developed by GM’s Cruise subsidiary. GM’s self-driving car company will attempt to deliver on its long-running promise to provide a more environmentally friendly ride-hailing service in the vehicle designed to eliminate the need for human operators to transport people around crowded cities. The boxy, electric-powered vehicle was unveiled Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in San Francisco (Cruise via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Director of PennDOT’s Office of Transformational Technology, Mark Kopko is set to discuss the adoption of autonomous vehicles on a local and state level during his annual briefing scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Kopko is expected to highlight how the adoption of autonomous vehicles will impact the people and businesses of Pennsylvania.

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According to a press release from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, Kopko manages all PennDOT activities related to emerging technology including the authorization of automated vehicle testers, platooning operations, personal delivery devices and automated work zone vehicles.

Kopko is also said to oversee smart city initiatives and support activities related to unmanned aircraft systems, hyperloop, broadband, mileage-based user fees and electric vehicles.

Earlier in the year, lawmakers encouraged Pennsylvanians to take part in a survey gauging the public’s perception of highly automated vehicles including their expectations, perceived benefits and concerns.

But positive public perception has proven difficult for automakers like Tesla and Cadillac who are well on their way to fully autonomous driving.

In Mid August, the U.S. government opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

But systems like hyperloop, which could whisk people from Harrisburg to New York City in 24 minutes, have shown enormous promise for transportation safety and efficiency.

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