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Could Utah’s roads see self-driving cars soon? Senate committee says yes.

(The Kroger Co. via AP) This undated image provided by The Kroger Co. shows an autonomous vehicle called the R1. Kroger will begin testing grocery deliveries using driverless cars outside of Phoenix. The grocery chain said the project was to began Aug. 16, 2018, in Scottsdale, at a Fry's supermarket, which is owned by Kroger. The Toyota Prius will be used for the deliveries, manned by a human to monitor its performance. During phase two in the fall deliveries will be made by the R1 with no human aboard.

Utah could soon join states like Arizona, California and Pennsylvania in allowing driverless, automatic vehicles to traverse Utah roads.

Members of the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee voted 5-0 in favor of HB101 and sent it on to the full Senate.

The bill passed out of the House last week, also unanimously, with a 70-0 vote.

During the House hearing, HB101 sponsor Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, said the bill wouldn’t dramatically change Utah road culture. He estimated that it will be years before self-driving cars regularly drive on Utah highways.

Spendlove clarified that his intention for the bill is to help move self-driving car developers away from closed-track testing and open up a door to public road access. It would allow any level of autonomous vehicle.

According to Spendlove, several different companies would come to Utah to do open road testing once a statute is in place to allow it.

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