Bill proposing companies be allowed to utilize self-driving cars could benefit Pittsburgh economy

PITTSBURGH — You’ve seen them being tested with passengers inside, but there is a whole other market that self-driving companies have yet to tap into in Pittsburgh.

“The Pittsburgh region is very well positioned to be the robotics and autonomous capital of the world,” said Matt Smith who’s the President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The one thing holding the city back is the lack of a state policy allowing for the self-driving cars on the roadways.

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“We think it’s important to do it at the state level so you aren’t looking at different rules of the road for each municipality,” Smith said.

That’s what House Bill 2398 will do. By allowing companies to test drive and deploy driverless vehicles, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce believes the impact economically will be huge.

“Right now in the autonomous sector there are about 6300 jobs and 3 billion in economic output if we are able to take advantage of this mobile sector it’s an opportunity to bring in almost ten billion in economic impact and 12,000 jobs,” Smith said.

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With our universities and ability to grow regionally, Smith said it puts Pittsburgh in a good position, but the market is competitive with other cities.

“Coming out of the pandemic, markets want to be really competitively positioned and that’s where this legislation and the timing of getting it done right now is going to be really critical,” Smith said.

The bill passed the house this week and is headed to the Senate floor for consideration.