When I was a kid, I remember a lot of popular culture that predicted a futuristic, tech-savvy world where robots and automation were an integral part of human life. From The Jetsons to Back to the Future, books, television, and movies all imagined what the world might be like, hundreds, if not thousands, of years down the road.
But now, with high-tech developments, that world already exists and continues to change, much sooner than perhaps anyone realized.
Many of us have smart phones, the clever devices that map out the world to get us where we are going and find answers to questions when we ask. We’ve all used the self-checkout lane at the grocery store, not recognizing the level of automation that is present in our everyday lives.
We continue to be on the cusp of explosive technological advancement with new discoveries coming to light daily. Our state has made a commitment to being a part of those developments, learning how to support industry and not stifle innovation.
With that in mind, the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, led by Chairman Doug Green, announced earlier this fall that it would conduct a seven-month study on autonomous and connected vehicles. Each monthly meeting is devoted to a specific subject and experts from different parts of this emerging industry provide committee members with insight and research.
Just this week, the committee held its second hearing, devoted specifically to vehicle manufacturers, where representatives from General Motors, Honda, and Tesla discussed their vision for an autonomous future.
Members have also already reviewed the basics of autonomous vehicles from trade organizations and will next be learning about the economic and labor benefits and challenges that accompany the growth of this industry.
The self-driving car is where the future is headed. For the state to be an important partner to the industry in the critical stages of its development, we must study its potential societal, environmental, and infrastructural impacts.
Not only do autonomous and connected vehicles have the ability to improve transportation safety and increase mobility for millions of Americans, but they can also positively impact the economy and workforce.
With Ohio on the forefront of this technology, we are ready to work with the industry to create well-paying jobs and connect with higher education institutions to prepare students with the necessary skills.
This special study by the House Transportation Committee will help us get there.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.