Gov. Inslee signs executive order on autonomous vehicles

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order Wednesday to show Washington State’s commitment to the development of self-driving vehicles.

According to a release b y the governor's office, the order:

supports safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles (AVs). The executive order establishes an interagency workgroup to work with local, regional and federal officials, stakeholders and industry groups, recommend changes or clarifications to state polices and rules about AVs, and examine other emerging automated transportation technology. The order also enables pilot programs for organizations developing AV equipment and technology.

The order was signed at the Bellevue radar technology startup Echodyne, which says it’s the first company to create radar technology that can be used in everything from drones to cars.

Engineers say with the new system, self-driving vehicles can better detect and avoid objects around them, especially when moving at high speed.

Existing technology relies on sensors and cameras that can be less effective in fog, snow and rain.

Aside from signing the executive order, Inslee toured Echodyne's vehicle research and testing facility and got a demonstration of how the radar technology would work in self-driving cars.

When KIRO 7 toured Echodyne last fall, the CEO said some major players in driverless car industry have been looking at their technology.