Tuesday, 06 November 2018 18:02

'Autonomous Illinois' Promises Economic Benefit, Public Goods

Written by Colin Wood, StateScoop


As in other states, Illinois officials are banking on the promise by the technology’s proponents that autonomous vehicles will improve public safety. According to the governor’s office, roadway accidents in Illinois killed more than 1,000 people in each of the past two years, with human error attributed as a major factor in 94 percent of fatal crashes. Yet this hope is paradoxically balanced with safety concerns---Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving technology, Autpilot, has been linked with two deaths and a handful of minor incidents underscoring the technology’s immaturity.


But perhaps the biggest motivator for the state is the financial incentive. The governor’s office cites projections of an industry projected to generate $800 billion in annual economic benefit globally by 2050.


“As the transportation hub for the entire country, Illinois is ideally situated to be a leader in the research of connected and automated vehicles,” Rauner said.


If any state could use an economic boost, it’s Illinois; in October, the state was ranked by George Mason University as having the worst economy of any state in the nation. Illinois carries $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and a political stalemate in the legislature has left the government without complete budgets for two fiscal years running. Illinois also holds the lowest credit rating of any state, flirting with junk status in recent months.


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