House Approves Sweeping Autonomous-Driving Bill

Casey Dawson
September 10, 2017

The proposal, which Reuters reports will shortly be headed for a vote in the Senate, would make it possible for carmakers to test their autonomous vehicles even if they're not as safe as all the other cars on the road. Manufacturers would eventually be able to introduce as many as 100,000 self-driving cars per year that don't comply with current safety rules that assume the presence of a human driver.

The House will vote on the bill under fast-track rules that allow no amendments.

The Senate has been debating a similar bill to SELF DRIVE, and they haven't passed any legislation yet.

Self-driving vehicles offer an opportunity to significantly increase safety, improve transportation access for underserved communities, and transform how people, goods and services get from point A to B.

Automakers would need to prove that their autonomous vehicle is as safe as a human-operated version before being granted the ability to test out their vehicle.

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The Self Drive Act, as the legislation is called, proposes a roadmap for the research and development of self-driving cars.

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.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee with Latta, was the only co-sponsor of the bill from the Sunshine State.

The bill, passed unanimously by a House panel in July, would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year. Automakers would also be required to provide regulators with safety assessments, but unlike in the Obama Administration guidelines, makers wouldn't need approval of new technologies in advance. "While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can't write a safety standard to make us all ideal drivers", said Walden, "It can work to advance lifesaving technologies to avoid collisions, and that's part of what this bipartisan legislation will put into place".

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 auto safety regulations-you know, like having a steering wheel, or accelerator and brake pedals.

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