Congress paves the way for more self-driving cars

September 11, 2017 -

Source: Daily Herald

Thousands of self-driving cars are now that much closer to hitting the streets as House lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to expand companies’ ability to test the next-generation technology. It’s a major step forward for tech companies, Detroit manufacturers and urban planners who believe automated cars will transform the economy. Here’s what you need to know.

Q: What does this bill do?

A: The legislation basically attempts to lay out a, well, road map for the research and development of self-driving cars. Known as the SELF DRIVE Act, the bill would let companies that are building self-driving cars apply for exemptions from the state and federal regulations that govern safety and design, potentially accelerating the deployment of cars that can navigate the streets themselves. Under the bill, automakers could eventually add as many as 100,000 of these experimental cars to U.S. roads every year.

The SELF DRIVE Act also requires automakers to ensure that consumers and regulators are fully informed about the companies’ approach to privacy and cybersecurity — a key concern after researchers have shown how easy it can be to remotely hack and commandeer major systems of even ordinary cars. And the legislation calls on the Department of Transportation to review its own regulations, many of which define a car by reference to, for example, steering wheels and brake pedals — language that may conflict with some automakers’ desire to build cars without those features.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ASME.

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