Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan anticipating the driverless future with new legislation

While self-driving cars have yet to be tested in Saskatchewan, new legislation will lay the groundwork for future technological advancements. 

The Traffic Safety Act has been amended to now include automated driving systems.

While self-driving cars have yet to be tested in Saskatchewan, new legislation will lay the groundwork for future technological advancements.  (Eric Risberg/The Associated Press)

The Saskatchewan government is gearing up for a future where vehicles will drive themselves.

The Traffic Safety Act has been amended to now include automated driving systems. 

This will allow SGI to eventually regulate any level of autonomous vehicles that are on the roads, whether it's a Tesla or a driverless tractor. 

"As it stands, we're focused on that safety aspect and making it clear drivers are still responsible for being in control of the vehicle," vice president of SGI J.P. Cullen said. 

While self-driving cars have yet to be tested in Saskatchewan, the new legislation will lay the groundwork for future technological advancements. 

As technology advances, so will the regulations. 

Cullen said the development of such legislation in Canada has been extremely collaborative, with jurisdictions working closely together. 

For example, Saskatchewan collaborated with Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick in order to ensure consistent policy nationwide. 

Tyler Krause, president of Tesla Owners Club of Saskatchewan, said regulations are inevitable as are driverless cars. 

He said driverless cars will have a lot of benefits for society.

"People will be able to afford transportation more easily and transportation options will be more flexible," Krause said.

"For example if you own two vehicles today, you may only need one vehicle if it's fully autonomous in the future. It could drop you off in work, and pick up your husband or wife at work, and can be used during the day to bring in income, and act as what some people call a robo-taxi."

As the government develops regulations around autonomous vehicles, Krause hopes local groups and manufactures are consulted. 

"The most important step for them to take in this process is to fully understand the technology," Krause said. 

Any new regulations will come into effect in 2021.

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