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US House passes bill for self-driving cars

ABR Staff Writer Published 07 September 2017

The US House has approved a proposal to accelerate the deployment of self-driving cars.

The bill, known as the Self-Drive Act, is yet to become a law.

When enacted, the law will enable auto-makers and tech companies to test 25,000 vehicles in the first year and increase the number to 100,000 experimental self-driving vehicles in three years of time.

The bill proposes to give exemptions to those companies from the federal safety standards that govern all motor vehicles and the companies do not have to seek technical review before being permitted to test their technologies.

Additionally, the bill proposes to prevent US states from creating laws that will control the development and performance of self-driving vehicles and will transfer the power solely to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Gizmodo quoted Ohio Republican Bob Latta as saying," With this legislation, innovation can flourish without the heavy hand of government."

Reuters noted that by mid-September, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao plans to unveil new rules for self-driving vehicles.

The new guidelines are expected to be in line with what several automakers who called upon the Trump administration last November, to rethink and change.

Prior guidelines were issued by the Obama administration last September. As per Obama administration’s rules, automakers or technology companies require their self-driving cars to meet a 15 point checklist in terms of safety and to undergo regulatory reviews before their actual deployment on roads.

Reuters also reported that the new rules will still retain those safety aspects. As per the bill, self-driving cars must demonstrate that they are as safe as existing vehicles.

And, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspectors. On the other hand, performance standards are expected to be set by the federal government.


Image: US House readies bill that will make it easy to deploy self-driving cars. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/Wikipedia.