The future of autonomous vehicles slowly moving toward reality

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HARRISBURG, P.A. --- The idea of self-driving vehicles is spreading across the country, including in Pennsylvania.

Self-driving car company Aurora is doing testing in Pittsburgh.

Several others, including Uber, are looking to test this technology in the commonwealth.

However, Leslie Richards, secretary for the Department of Transportation, said we're still a long way away from seeing self-driving vehicles beside us on the roadways.

But she said they believe the effort to test them could not only change lives---but make them safer.

She said they think self-driving vehicles can help keep seniors and disabled people mobile while also making areas such as construction zones safer for crews and drivers.

"We see autonomous and connected technology as being the key in holding great promise in reducing the number of serious accidents as well as fatalities on our roadways," said Richards.

Some people, like Trent Brent, said they still need to see more from the technology before they're sold.

"Normal cars that you have to drive...it's all up to people behind the wheel...You drive for each other on the roads. It's possible it could make the roads safer, if there is enough of them on the road," said Brent

Others, like Steven Wolfe, said they do not trust a vehicle without a human driver.

"I want somebody behind the wheel that can actually react," said Wolfe.

Some of his concerns include responsiveness of the vehicles and how they react to cars and people around them.

Also, he worries about liability: Who---or what---is responsible if an accident happens?

Wolfe said he isn't buying the idea of safer roads with autonomous vehicles.

"Look at some of the stuff that is being hacked now-a-days...Could you imagine if one of these big trucks got hacked and drove somewhere it shouldn't have gone?" said Wolfe.

Richards said legislation still needs to be passed to allow for more oversight on autonomous vehicle testing.

She acknowledged the technology is still a relative unknown, which is why they are stressing the importance of getting the public more comfortable with the idea.

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