It’s a major turning point in the history of the automobile as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder officially signed a package of bills into law to develop comprehensive regulations for autonomous vehicle research, development and use.
Essentially, the new laws make driverless cars completely legal on Michigan roads and the state becomes the first in the union to pass these kinds of regulations.
“Michigan is the global center for automotive technology and development, having transformed the way the world moves for more than 100 years,” Snyder said. “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 features three important aspects, namely:
- 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.
The passage of the bill will also see an arm of the Michigan Department of Transportation that will recommend policies to set industry standards. It also will regulate connected vehicle networks and how traffic data, such as vehicle crashes, will be collected and shared.
The legislation had final input from a variety of automakers including Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota. Uber, Lyft and Google also helped shape the final bill.
The passage of the bill follows the groundbreaking for the American Center for Mobility, which will be situated in Ypsilanti, Michigan for research, testing and self-certification of autonomous vehicles and connected vehicle technology.