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LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Legislature has approved a bill that allows pilot programs to test fully autonomous vehicles on state roads.

The measure approved Tuesday will let organizations submit operation and safety plans for up to three autonomous vehicles which would be able to operate on Arkansas roads.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Mathew Pitsch of Fort Smith, says operation and safety plans first must be approved by the state Department of Transportation and law enforcement authorities before autonomous vehicles can be tested. Pitsch says he's not sure when self-driving cars would be on the roads.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

The bill, which the Senate approved 27-5, explicitly states autonomous vehicles must be fully capable of driving and reacting as a human driver would.

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he would sign the bill.

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  • NunyaB
    March 13, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Yes, finally. Lets see how these driverless cars do in the endlessly ongoing construction projects in this state. I wish I would have thought of it. This should be good...stand by for an accident near you.

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