High-tech Boston area in legal bind on driverless-car tests

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — With its Colonial-era street patterns, icy winters, aggressive drivers and high-tech talent, the Boston area would seem the perfect place to test self-driving cars.

But Massachusetts and other northeastern states don't have laws outlining how the technology should be driven and tested. Researchers at MIT and elsewhere say the lack of clear rules is hampering their ability to advance the technology.

But attempts by lawmakers in Rhode Island, Connecticut and other states to allow driverless cars on public roads have been spurned by Google and the auto industry.

Carmakers told Rhode Island senators this week they'd rather have no rules than a patchwork of state laws. They said to wait for federal guidelines expected this year.

Massachusetts is proposing a temporary fix by developing a self-driving test site at the former Fort Devens.