Michigan Lawmakers Approve Testing of Autonomous Cars | Edmunds.com
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Michigan Lawmakers Approve Testing of Autonomous Cars


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Just the Facts:
  • Michigan lawmakers have passed legislation that paves the way for testing self-driving vehicles in the state.
  • Michigan will become the fourth state to permit autonomous vehicles on its roadways.
  • Gov. Rick Snyder is a proponent of self-driving cars.

LANSING, Michigan — Michigan lawmakers have passed legislation that paves the way for testing self-driving vehicles in the state.

Michigan will become the fourth state to permit autonomous vehicles on its roadways.

Once signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the legislation will allow autonomous vehicles to be tested on public roads by manufacturers and third-party suppliers.

Snyder has been a vocal proponent of advanced-vehicle technology, including self-driving vehicles, so his approval is virtually assured. In his 2013 State of the State address, Snyder announced his intention to work with the legislature on the goal of "establishing Michigan as a leader in autonomous vehicle testing to attract jobs stemming from this emerging industry."

The legislation requires that a human operator be present to "monitor performance and intervene if necessary." It also mandates that self-driving vehicles carry a "Manufacturer" license plate to identify them and protects original manufacturers from civil liability for damages caused by the vehicles.

Two other states, Florida and California, have passed laws that provide for testing, while Nevada has a more open policy that generally permits the vehicles to operate on state roadways.

In total, nine state legislatures debated bills related to self-driving vehicles during sessions this year.

A number of major auto manufacturers have been involved in testing autonomous vehicles, including Audi, BMW, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla and Volvo. Google created a media sensation last year when it posted a YouTube video of a blind man behind the wheel of a self-driving Toyota Prius.

Ford recently committed to producing a self-driving car by 2025 and currently has a Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle undergoing testing.

Edmunds says: When the home state of the Motor City begins testing self-driving cars, you know that they're probably just around the corner.

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