Michigan Welcomes Self-Driving Vehicles

Safety requirements that pertain to the testing of autonomous vehicles will apply to autonomous vehicle operation, and the law allows for automated vehicle platoons, where vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds, and authorizes on-demand autonomous vehicle networks.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law on Dec. 9 that allows self-driving vehicles on the state's roads, where before only testing of these vehicles by manufacturers was permitted. Snyder signed it with a  Model-T Ford on one side and a self-driving Fusion on the other at the Automotive Hall of Fame Museum in Dearborn, and he indicated the legislation extends Michigan's legacy of leadership in automotive design, technology, and production.

"Michigan put the world on wheels, and now we are leading the way in transforming the auto industry," he said. "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."

Safety requirements that pertain to the testing of autonomous vehicles will apply to autonomous vehicle operation, and the law allows for automated vehicle platoons, where vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds, and authorizes on-demand autonomous vehicle networks. It also establishes the Michigan Council on Future Mobility within the Michigan Department of Transportation to make future recommendations on statewide policy.

The new law allows:

  • Testing of vehicles without steering wheels, pedals, or needed human control
  • Automotive and technology companies to operate self-driving vehicle ride-sharing services
  • Self-driving vehicles to be sold for public use once the technology has been tested and certified

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, companies involved in creating the final legislation included Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Google Inc., Uber, and Lyft.

Snyder also signed into law a bill outlining specific parameters for entities that wish to offer on-demand autonomous vehicle networks to the public.

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