Michigan just became the first state in America to establish self-driving car regulations for use, testing, and sales of the vehicles. On Friday, Governor Rick Snyder signed monumental legislation that will allow autonomous cars to be operated on Michigan roads. Before the legislation only manufacturer testing was permitted, so this move could be a big zoom forward for driverless vehicles.
Self-driving cars can now be tested on Michigan roads without a brake pedal, steering wheel, or even a human in the vehicle’s front seat. Under the new legislation, companies can use such vehicles for ride-sharing. And once the technology’s ready, the public can buy the cars.
Snyder said in a statement, “Michigan put the world on wheels and now we are leading the way in transforming the auto industry. We are becoming the mobility industry, shaped around technology that makes us more aware and safer as we’re driving. By recognizing that and aligning our state’s policies as new technology is developed, we will continue as the leader the rest of the world sees as its biggest competition.”
The news may be beneficial for companies working in Michigan, but the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets – founded by Uber, Google, Ford, Volvo Cars, and Lyft – has been calling for regulation from the federal government so rules don’t vary wildly between states. They said in a November statement, “We support the development of a single national framework and urge NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] to discourage state and local policymakers from pursuing their own rules and contributing to an inconsistent patchwork of regulations.”
Now it remains to be seen if and how other states will follow Michigan’s lead. In the meantime, Michigan’s legislation created the Michigan Council on Future Mobility in the state’s department of transportation to offer recommendations on state policy in the future.
Via Business Insider