Pennsylvania Pols Get To Sample Self-Driving Car At State Capitol

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Harrisburg’s mayor was the first passenger as PennDOT and Carnegie Mellon University this past week offered test rides around the state capitol complex in a self-driving vehicle.

Lawmakers and other politicians took a mile-plus ride around Pennsylvania’s capitol and adjoining buildings in a self-driving Cadillac SUV. Along the route, the automated vehicle negotiated eight traffic signals – and according to Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, the first to take a spin during the demonstration — it had to deal with at least one jaywalker.

“It noticed – it noticed and slowed down. So the default for the car is to sort of speed up to the speed limit at all times,” Papenfuse said. “So it would slow down — it slowed down as we were approaching turns. It had the route programmed in so it knew where it was going, but it slowed down for crosswalks, it slowed down for jaywalkers.”

A task force working on policies for safe testing of self-driving vehicles on Pennsylvania roads is expected to make recommendations later this fall.

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