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Connecticut looking to test self-driving vehicles

A lot of headlines in recent months have been devoted to self-driving vehicles. Unfortunately, this has been largely due to the number of recent car accidents involving vehicles equipped with the technology - including a handful of fatal crashes. The crash that resulted in the most extensive media coverage involved an Uber vehicle that was operating in semi-autonomous mode with a safety operator in the driver's seat.

The self-driving Uber was being tested in Tempe, Arizona, when it struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking her bicycle across the street. Uber immediately halted its self-driving testing program in Tempe and in several other locations. At the same time, state and local regulators began to scrutinize self-driving vehicle testing programs in their jurisdictions.

Uber settled with the Tempe victim's family in very short order - before a suit could even be filed. A suit filed by a motorcyclist who was hit in December by a self-driving car in San Francisco settled earlier this month. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but it is the first settlement of a personal injury suit involving a self-driving vehicle.

Now, it appears Connecticut is poised to allow self-driving vehicles on its public streets, roads and highways. The state is looking at four communities where such testing can be done on municipal roads. Southington is no longer in the running and New Haven is on the fence. At this time, only Windsor Locks is looking to test self-driving vehicles. A few other municipalities have expressed interest, however, Windsor Locks submitted the only application. The effects of self-driving vehicles on the state's roads remains to be seen.

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