Today, March 4, 2019, Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto signed an executive order outlining the objectives and expectations from the city for testing autonomous vehicles. Transparency and reporting are two of the city’s biggest priorities set forth in the order.

The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) will be in charge of the oversight of autonomous testing.  The DOMI is charged with, among other things, to publish guidelines for the testing of self-driving technology on public streets, which, at a minimum:

  • Complement the Automated Vehicle Testing Guidance adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or Office of the Governor;
  • Identify the testers and the anticipated time, place, and manner testing is to occur;
  • Increase public transparency and knowledge of the testing occurring on public streets;
  • Stipulate that testers articulate the necessity of testing on city streets and the manner in which testing may advance the city’s principles for shared and autonomous mobility;
  • Ensure reliable communication between testers and city authorities in the event of emergency; and
  • Identify the data reasonably necessary to be collected from testers in order for public agencies to understand the impact and opportunity of testing on public safety.

The DOMI is also charged with publishing recommendations with regard to highly automated driving systems’ use of city managed and controlled assets and facilities that will:

  • Fundamentally protect and enhance walking, public transit, and travel by bicycle in highly urbanized areas;
  • Promote and encourage development/demonstration/deployment of automated driving systems that have higher occupancy, low or no emissions, and lower household transportation costs; and
  • Minimize consequences and maximize benefits of technological disruption on city finances,

The DOMI must regularly report to the public, at least annually, regarding the development of and compliance with guidelines and policies, results of data analysis, and recommendations for continued public advancement of these technologies.

The five entities currently developing autonomous driving systems in Pittsburgh are: Aptiv, Argo AI, Aurora Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University, and Uber. The effect the order will have on these companies’ state-approved testing activities within Pittsburgh is yet to be seen, as we await the recommendations proposed by DOMI.