Automakers would also be able to test driverless ridesharing programs.
If new legislation becomes law, Michigan drivers might spot vehicles on the road with no one behind the wheel. The bills would overhaul the state’s current driverless car rules from 2013, The Detroit Free Press reports citing the Associated Press. If passed, the updated regulations would make Michigan one of the most permissive places in the United States for testing self-driving tech.
The bills include allowing automakers to evaluate driverless systems without someone sitting at the steering wheel. Most places, including California and the United Kingdom, mandate a human at the controls in case something goes wrong. The regulations would also allow for testing convoys of tightly spaced commercial trucks, which is a similar idea to what Volvo is developing. Car companies could also setup on-demand ridesharing services for autonomous vehicles, according to The Detroit Free Press.
"We're working with the industry and MDOT [Michigan Department of Transportation] so that once these vehicles are on the road you can rest assured that they are safe," Republican State Senator Mike Kowall told The Detroit Free Press.
Legislators split these proposals into several bills, so it’s possible not all of them might pass. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder already supports the updated autonomous vehicle regulations, according to this report. If the new regulations arrive on his desk, they seem likely to become law.
Even without these updated rules, Michigan has already become a popular base for autonomous testing. MCity near the University of Michigan has given automakers a safe venue to test their next-gen tech. Google has also made the state a major part of its driverless vehicle plan by establishing a research center near Detroit and signing a limited partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The new laws would likely only advance that state’s position as a leading place to evaluate self-driving cars.
Source: The Detroit Free Press