Autonomous car technology is moving fast. In fact, one California company is now approved to test-drive the vehicles on public roads without a test driver inside.
Idaho is a long way from fully autonomous vehicles but state leaders are hoping to stay ahead of the technology movement.
Governor Otter created the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment Committee in January to study the technology and it's potential place in Idaho.
The committee, comprised of industry leaders and members from multiple state agencies met 4 times this year to discuss the implications of possibly testing this technology in the future.
Self driving vehicles are not permitted in Idaho and at this point neither is testing.
"As far as are we going to see testing tomorrow? No that's not going to happen," said Idaho Transportation Department spokesperson Jennifer Gonzalez. "The first step would be seeing if legislation may or may not change to allow for the testing of it."
The committee submitted a report of their findings and recommendations to Governor Otter on Thursday.
One recommendation is encouraging legislation to allow autonomous vehicle testing and deployment. There are many complex topics the commission tackled in their meetings ahead of this report
"If you start looking at transportation infrastructure and just the pure funding that's involved with it, you're looking at a situation where Idaho needs about 417 million dollars a year more than we're doing now to keep the roads up to speed and deal with the additional capacity that's needed," said AAA spokesperson Matthew Conde
New technology in the car's would also mean new technology on our roads.
"The committee has identified that this funding is necessary to make sure that the infrastructure is smart enough to match the car," Conde said.
According to the report current testing indicates that even with ideal signage and roadway markings, these systems can have problems dealing with glare, rain, snow, or misidentification.
"They are sensitive systems," Conde said. "They aren't very intuitive at least not yet. So what we're looking for is a lot of testing a lot of proof that things are where they ought to be and then put these known proven technologies on the road."
Idaho State Police Lieutenant Colonel Shannon Kelly says their main priority is keeping drivers safe and being able to enforce the laws.
We're a long ways off from fully autonomous cars but there is already autonomy on the roads like lane assist, blind spot warnings, and brake assist.
"You hit a lot of different stages within that spectrum," Kelly said. "As we go forward and these vehicles are tested and operated on our roadways we need to make sure that at all stages we're prepared."
The idea of collaboration is also important not just within the state but across the country.
"As we all come together as states and see what others are doing we avoid a patchwork that a car crossing into a border of another state has to deal with a totally different set of rules that's very confusing."
You can view the full report here.