Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has directed the state's Department of Transportation to spearhead a statewide testing program for connected and autonomous vehicles. Rauner's Oct. 25 executive order created "Autonomous Illinois," an initiative designed to keep IDOT on the forefront of emerging vehicle safety technologies.
The initiative will establish guidelines for testing the technology as well as sharing information among key stakeholders including autonomous vehicle developers, researchers and state agencies, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Under the IDOT program, all testing of self-driving vehicles will require a safety driver behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle if needed, reports note.
In addition to IDOT, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Tollway, the Department of Insurance, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will assist with the new program.
"Autonomous Illinois" will reach out and recruit communities that want to test technologies in their neighborhoods in conjunction with local industries or universities.
Illinois is presently partnering with Northwestern University and the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses on a test track for self-driving vehicles in downstate Rantoul, reports the Tribune.