State Regulations on Driverless Car Testing

I decided to dig deeper into the existing regulations currently in place in the United States.  At this point, there are only four states (and D.C.!) that have approved legislation regarding the testing of driverless cars: Nevada, California, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Michigan. This site provides a nice summary of all of the status of all states’ driverless car bills, including which ones have passed, failed, or are under consideration.

All of these states have different variations on the following general concepts:

  • The “drivers” need to be pre-approved and they need to have proof of training by the manufacturer
  • Manufacturers are required to maintain some level of insurance coverage
  • Manufacturers need to show that their driverless cars have been tested already and can safely comply with all applicable traffic laws
  • Driverless cars must store sensor data for a pre-established amount of time
  • “Drivers” must have the ability to take over control of the car (via a steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal, at a minimum) at any time
  • Some reporting (of incidents, at a minimum) is required

There are at least 10 states who have legislation under consideration and at least 10 that have had legislation fail.  That being said, most driving laws do not actually prohibit driverless cars.  The four states listed above have just formally allowed for driverless car testing (and put specific requirements around the testing).

Despite all of these regulatory actions, Google still believes its own safety processes are adequate and “that the technology behind autonomous vehicles is too intricate for state government representatives to fully grasp — and therefore regulate.” (source)

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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2 Responses to State Regulations on Driverless Car Testing

  1. Pingback: Driverless Transportation | State Regulations on Driverless Car Testing

  2. Pingback: Everyone's A Bad Driver (Except Me And My Autonomous Car) - Daily Kanban

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