You may know that I think we are missing a huge opportunity here in Summit County to embrace the autonomous vehicle. I don’t mean just waiting for them to become available and then passing some laws. I believe we have unique characteristics and needs that would support getting tech companies and vehicle manufactures to test their vehicles in and around Summit County.
As we stand by, the opportunity is moving past us. Case in point is the first autonomous semi to hit the open roads in Nevada. It had a public showing last night and has run 10,000 miles in testing. It is the real deal and it is likely to be in production soon. In this case, the truck has a driver but the vehicle does most of the work and only needs assistance in some cases.
Yet, there is still an opportunity for a place like Summit County. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG’s truck boss says they are moving forward fast but there are still obstacles. “Obviously there’s some more testing we have to do,” Bernhard said. “We have to see how this thing performs in the rain, the sun, cold days, or at subzero.” That’s something that Daimler will have to wait for, as other states could be slow to adapt the same self-driving-friendly regulation that Nevada already has.
And there-in lies the opportunity. Utah has an opportunity to be at the forefront of this technology. Summit County has an opportunity to help build this industry. I wish it was a concept that we could lead on. But that just doesn’t seem to be our style.