LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fully autonomous vehicles could soon be permitted in the Commonwealth. 

House Bill 7, which creates regulations for vehicles that do not need a driver, was passed by the Kentucky House and Senate.

What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 7 will allow fully autonomous vehicles on the road in Kentucky

  • The bill was passed by the house and senate and was sent to the governor last week

  • A Univeristy of Louisville assistant professor said autonomous vehicles will reduce accidents and fuel usage

The futuristic cars are hitting the road, according to a University of Louisville professor. 

“They’re coming… they’ve been really being researched and developed for quite a long time now,” said Robert Kluger, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Louisville.

Kluger did not comment on the bill itself, but said with time fully autonomous vehicles will lead to fewer accidents. 

“Currently, over 90% of crashes have some level of human error involved and that will get eliminated, obviously, that’s going to be replaced to some extent with, you know, technological errors, but really, it’s going to be much fewer crashes,” said Kluger.

The assistant professor also said fully autonomous vehicles will benefit those who need help getting around. 

“People who shouldn’t be driving or who can’t drive will all of a sudden have access to, you know, transportation that normally they would need to be calling for somebody or arranging rides,” Kluger said.

Once there are many of these vehicles on the road and the technology scales up, Kluger said they will save fuel. 

“They’re able to, you know, optimize their speed so that they can hit green lights. They can, you know, send signals to other vehicles to improve their merging so that they’re not causing huge delays,” he said.

But it doesn’t come without some concerns. Kluger said drivers will need to learn how to interact with autonomous vehicles on the road.

“It’s a new technology that’s going to cause potentially some problems over the course of its lifetime, just like any new technology will,” he said. “Really, it’s all about, you know, educating drivers, making sure that and other road users, making sure that they understand how to interface with the vehicles in a safe way,” Kluger said.

The bill was sent to Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., last Thursday, March 28, 2024.

According to the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association, 23 states have already authorized the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.