Michigan on Friday became the first state to pass a law allowing self-driving cars to be tested, sold, and used for ride-sharing services within its borders.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation into law at the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Many major players in self-driving car technology gave input into the legislation, including Ford, GM, Google, Toyota, Uber, and Lyft, Business Insider reported. Although the legislation is groundbreaking, proponents are pushing for a broader, federal framework rather than individual state laws.
Although the laws are the most permissive in the nation — California’s rules, currently being drafted and not yet passed, permit self-driving cars but require a driver to be behind the wheel) — Uber and other tech companies were not happy with the provision that only motor vehicle manufacturers can deploy self-driving taxis, Fortune reported.
Uber, Google, and other tech companies are currently racing to develop self-driving technology and get it on the market. Ford Motor Company says it plans to begin selling fully autonomous vehicles with no steering wheels, gas, or brake pedals in 2021, safety director Wayne Bahr said Friday, Fortune reported.
Michigan is developing the American Center for Mobility, a 335-acre testing and research site for self-driving vehicles, and the University of Michigan also has a testing facility for self-driving vehicles.
The Michigan Department of Transportation and Senator Mike Kowall introduced the series of bills to the state legislature. Even in their final form, however, the bills are somewhat confusing at times, Fortune noted, especially about what or who qualifies as an “operator” under the legislation.
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