Legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder today makes Michigan the first state to establish comprehensive regulations for the testing, use, and eventual sale of autonomous vehicle technology. The law is the result of public and private efforts to maintain a safe evolution as self-driving vehicles see more research and investment.
“Michigan is the global center for automotive technology and development, having transformed the way the world moves for more than 100 years,” says Snyder. “By establishing guidelines and standards for self-driving vehicles, we’re continuing that tradition of excellence in a way that protects the public’s safety while at the same time allows the mobility industry to grow without overly burdensome regulations.”
The new law, signed at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, clarifies the circumstances that self-driving vehicles can be legally used on public roadways. It also allows for the testing of vehicles without steering wheels, pedals, or human control.
In addition, automotive companies can now operate self-driving vehicle ride-sharing services, and driverless cars can be sold for public use once the technology has been tested and certified.
The law also establishes the Michigan Council on Future Mobility, an arm of the Michigan Department of Transportation that will recommend policies and set industry standards for autonomous transportation. It will also regulate connected vehicle networks and determine how traffic data, including vehicle crashes, will be distributed.
“This legislation keeps Michigan at the forefront of a renaissance in automotive technology,” says Kirk T. Steudle, director at MDOT. “The law helps government further support the industry while not getting in the way.”
The partners who contributed to the final legislation include FCA US, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp., and Google Inc., as well as ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.