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October 21, 2016 3:00 PM, EDT

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Announces Automated Driving Technology Committee

Scott Eisen/Bloomberg News
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Oct. 20 outlining his plan for “The AV Working Group,” his committee on automated vehicles.

The group will include Massachusetts’ secretaries of transportation, public safety and security, and housing and economic development as well as the registrar of motor vehicles and highway administrator, plus four members chosen by the Senate president, speaker of the House, Senate minority leader, and House minority leader.

Baker’s office said the group will meet with experts on motor vehicle safety and vehicle automation, collaborate with the Legislature on bills on the topic and support memorandum of understanding agreements, which companies will need to enter into with MassDOT and affected municipalities or state agencies regarding testing of self-driving vehicles in Massachusetts.

The memorandum of understanding is to include a process for companies to follow in order to obtain approval from MassDOT for testing.

“The commonwealth is home to many world-class innovation companies and academic institutions intimately involved in autonomous vehicle technology, which makes Massachusetts uniquely qualified to responsibly host this emerging field to foster innovation and economic growth,” Baker said. “The guidance the AV Working Group provides will be instrumental in ensuring companies can further develop autonomous vehicle technology in the commonwealth and do so while maintaining the safety of our roadways.”

According to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, “Public safety will be our top priority. As we collaborate with municipal and private sector partners, the memorandum of understanding will enable safe testing with people ready to take the wheel on pre-approved routes.”