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?
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.
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.
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
SAE, 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
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.
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.