Why Self-Driving Car Companies Are Cheering Congress Today

Why Self-Driving Car Companies Are Cheering Congress Today

Why Self-Driving Car Companies Are Cheering Congress Today

States barred from changing testing rules.

A bill to hit the accelerator on autonomous auto development and to prevent states from banning self-driving vehicles unanimously passed Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

The US House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday approved legislation [HR 3388 materials] to allow self-driving cars into the marketplace.

The newly passed bill is created to accelerate the timeframe for allowing self-driving vehicles to be on the roads for testing without humans behind the wheel. If it becomes law (which still requires it to pass the Senate), then it would make it possible for companies working on self-driving to field a lot more vehicles per year - as many as 100,000 autonomous test cars annually, in fact.

The House will vote on the bills under fast-track rules that permit no amendments.

A bipartisan group of US senators has been working on similar legislation and could circulate a draft of the measure this week. Not surprisingly, the auto industry has come out in favor of the revised guidelines and House bill.

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Automakers would need to prove that their autonomous vehicle is as safe as a human-operated version before being granted the ability to test out their vehicle.

The one thing the Self Drive Act doesn't deal with is commercial applications like trucking, which many see as an ideal proving ground for real-world integration of autonomous technologies.

Another association, the Coalition for Future Mobility, said it "supports legislative measures that will optimize the safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles in a technology-neutral manner while continuing to let innovation thrive".

Another interesting tidbit to note is that the bill would override any state-level laws prohibiting the testing of autonomous vehicle technology within state lines, effectively rendering the entire United States a testing ground for unproven self-driving systems.

The new parameters from the Trump Administration are expected to be a bit more lax than the initial ones set forth by the Obama Administration in 2016. Amongst other measures, the bill would enable the the federal government authority to exempt automakers from some safety standards that are not applicable to the technology, and also allow for far more self-driving cars to get on the roads.

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