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U.S. Congress to Vote on First Driverless Car Law Shortly

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【Summary】The U.S. House of Representatives will cast their vote next week on a proposal that would increase the deployment of autonomous vehicles by making it easier for automakers and tech companies to test driverless cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Sep 09, 2017 1:30 PM PT
U.S. Congress to Vote on First Driverless Car Law Shortly

While other countries, like Britain, are taking a hands-on approach to an autonomous future, the U.S. government has played it cool, allowing individual states to set their own regulations when it comes to autonomous vehicles. States like Wisconsin have executive orders in place that allows tech companies and automakers to test self-driving vehicles on public roads without having to go through any loopholes. 

The state of California, though, works a little differently than other states, as it requires companies and automakers to obtain a permit before heading out onto public roads and to provide reports on disengagements and accidents that any self-driving vehicles are involved in. The state may even allow companies to test vehicles without a human driver soon. 

U.S. Government Could Alter Driverless Testing

While individual states have taken it upon themselves to set rules for automakers and companies attempting to test vehicles on their public roads, the U.S. government has, for the most part, kept quiet on driverless vehicles. According to a report by Reuters that's about to change, and in a massive way. 

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on a comprehensive proposal that would hasten the deployment of autonomous vehicles in the country. The proposal would also make it okay for companies and automakers to test driverless cars without traditional human controls and stop states from hampering strides in autonomous tech.

The bill, as Reuters reports, passed through a House panel unanimously earlier this July would also increase the number of autonomous vehicles on the road to 25,000 cars in the first year, with the figure increasing to a total of 100,000 cars annually over three years. In addition to allowing companies and automakers to test more vehicles, it would also allow them to obtain exemptions from current automotive safety standards. 

What The Proposal Means For Companies

At the moment, the cap for autonomous vehicles is set at just 2,500 cars to be tested per year. With nearly every automaker testing driverless cars, that figure is surely hindering everyone from getting crucial information from on-road tests. 

"Self-driving vehicles stand to make our transportation system safer and more efficient," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "Advancing this technology to road-ready requires government policy that encourages continued testing and development." 

The bill won't drastically alter regulations that states already have in place when it comes to driverless cars, but it will put some new things in place. Companies and automakers in California, for instance, would be able to test cars without having human controls behind the wheel. And, we're guessing here, companies and automakers would probably have an easier time obtaining a permit to testing autonomous cars. 

For other states that have wanted to stay out of the limelight, the bill would allow anyone with a self-driving car to test the machine in the state, essentially demolishing any roadblocks. States, though, will still be able to set local regulations on licensing, registration, insurance, liability, and safety inspections. 

via: Reuters

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