House paves the way for self-driving cars

A Tesla Model S car equipped with Autopilot

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a sweeping proposal to speed deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles.

"We look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to enact autonomous vehicle legislation that enhances safety, creates new mobility opportunities, and facilitates innovation".

As The Drive reported earlier this morning, the Self Drive Act allows companies like Waymo, Uber, General Motors, and Ford to push out 25,000 autonomous cars per year that don't comply with current passenger vehicle safety regulations-you know, like having a steering wheel, or accelerator and brake pedals. In three years, the cap would jump to 100,000 annually. Before the House vote, Ohio Republican Bob Latta, the bill's primary sponsor, called the technology "life saving". Performance standards would be left to design by the federal government, while states would retain ownership of rules on licensing, registration, insurance and safety inspection.

Designers of self-driving cars have complained that the differing laws of each state have hindered the deployment of vehicles.

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. But one consumer group said the House bill did not do enough to ensure self-driving cars would be safe.

The action now moves to the Senate, where Republican John Thune of South Dakota and Democrats Bill Nelson of Florida and Gary Peters of MI are leading work on legislation of their own.

Automakers and technology companies, including General Motors Co and Alphabet Inc's self-driving unit Waymo, have been pushing for new federal rules making it easier to deploy self-driving technology.

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.

Through these changes, supporters of the act hope that more companies can get more autonomous cars on the streets with fewer roadblocks (pun unintended) for testing.

Prior guidelines were issued by the Obama administration last September.



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