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Automated Vehicles

Automated Vehicles (AVs) use sensors and computer systems to drive themselves. Often called "self-driving" cars, AVs partially or entirely remove the need for a driver to control the vehicle.
 
Connected and automated vehicles could increase travel options and make our roads safer. ODOT is monitoring technology developments, evaluating safety benefits and exploring ways connected and automated vehicles can increase mobility options for Oregonians.
 
ODOT is the lead agency coordinating autonomous vehicle programs and policies in Oregon, as designated by the Legislature in House Bill 4063 of 2018.

Why do we need AV technology?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 94 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error. The majority of crashes are caused by 1) recognition errors, where drivers are not paying attention to the road or the vehicles around them; and, 2) decision errors, such as speeding, performing illegal maneuvers and misjudging gaps between vehicles or others’ speed. Automated vehicles could eliminate the majority of these crashes.
 
While automated vehicle systems require much more testing and validation before they are ready for commercial deployment, engineers are working to ensure they drive safely, closely follow traffic laws, and respond appropriately to changing road conditions. Automated vehicles do not get distracted and can monitor their environment in 360-degree, high-precision 3D.
 
Automated vehicles can also provide increased mobility to seniors, children, people with disabilities and others who are unable or choose not to drive. They could operate more efficiently than conventional vehicles, reducing congestion and emissions.
Levels of automation
CAV levels of automation.pngSAE, the Society of Automotive Engineers, identified six levels of vehicle automation starting with Level 0, or no automation whatsoever, through Level 5, in which the vehicle has complete control.
 
You might already be driving a vehicle that is above Level 0. Level 1 automation includes automatic transmission, lane-keeping technologies and assisted cruise control. Level 2 includes some of these technologies working in conjunction (such as in Tesla's autopilot mode). It is Levels 3 through 5 where the Office of Innovation is focusing its attention.

Oregon's Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles

Created by House Bill 4063, signed by Gov. Kate Brown on April 10, 2018, ODOT was named the state's lead agency on automated vehicle policy (as recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). It also directed ODOT to facilitate a Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles and report to the legislature with legislative recommendations. Per HB 4063, the task force dissolved in January 2021. 

The Task Force issued two reports:

September 2018 Report
September 2019 Report

Members of the task force were:

Chair: Lt. Timothy Tannenbaum (Washington County Sheriff's Office), Law enforcement
Rep. Susan McLain (D), Oregon Representative
Rep. Lynn Findley (R), Oregon Representative
Sen. Sara Gelser (D), Oregon Senator
Sen. Fred Girod (R), Oregon Senator
Richard Blackwell, Department of Consumer and Business Services
Marie Dodds, American Automobile Association
Steve Entler (Radio Cab), Taxicab industry
Daniel Fernández (Jaguar Land Rover), Automotive industry
Chris Hagerbaumer (Oregon Environmental Council), Nonprofit organization
Eric Hesse (City of Portland), League of Oregon Cities
Cheryl Hiemstra, Department of Justice
Lt. Stephanie Ingraham, Oregon State Police
Neil Jackson (OTLA), Trial lawyers
Jana Jarvis, Oregon Trucking Association
Mark MacPherson (Teamsters), Transportation union
Galen McGill, Department of Transportation
David McMorries (Oregon State University), Cybersecurity industry
Evan Manvel, Department of Land Conservation and Development
Robert Nash (State Farm), Automotive insurance industry
Todd Nell, Office of Workforce Investments
Jeff Owen (TriMet), Oregon Transit Association
Carly Riter (Intel Corp.), AV technology industry
Eliot Rose (Metro), Metropolitan planning organization
Jeremiah Ross (Ross Law LLC), Consumer protection advocates
Paul Savas (Clackamas County), Association of Oregon Counties
Becky Steckler (University of Oregon), Public university
Graham Trainor (AFL), Workers' union
Sean Waters (Daimler), Commercial truck manufacturing industry
Caleb Weaver (Uber), Transportation network company

Interested in testing AVs in Oregon?

The Office of Innovation would like to work with any company that is interested in bringing automated vehicles to Oregon. We have a voluntary testing notification form to initiate the exchange of information between AV manufacturers and the agency.
 
Oregon does not currently regulate AV testing, but the voluntary notification process allows ODOT to provide safety information to interested companies on work zones and lane closures on proposed test routes and dates. It also enables us to solicit feedback from AV system developers on how to engage the industry, and to track the progress of AV testing in the state. 
 



Contact Us

Innovative Partnerships Coordinator
(503) 986-3998 
 
Policy Lead
503-986-4325
 
Media Contact
Michelle Godfrey
Public Information Officer
(503) 986-3903


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