Congress is advancing a proposal co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) that will allow automakers to sell tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles over the next few years that do not meet current federal safety guidelines.
Peters says the legislation will help researchers develop and test autonomous vehicles under real world conditions.
He says it will help the federal government stay ahead of technological advancements by requiring automakers to provide reports on safety evaluations of driverless vehicles and strengthen cybersecurity.
“Getting these (autonomous) vehicles out of some of their test facilities. Get these cars out on the road so we can collect the data.” — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
But Peters says the plan will also get rid of regulations that hamper the testing of autonomous vehicles, such as rules requiring cars to have a steering wheel and a brake pedal.
“(It will) allow the development of self-driving autonomous vehicles to move to the next step,” Peters says. “Getting these vehicles out of some of their test facilities. Get these cars out on the road so we can collect the data.”
Peters says Michigan, in particular, needs the testing to expand.
He predicts autonomous vehicles will bring jobs and economic growth to the state.
“Michigan has always been the center of the auto industry and this technology is probably every bit as big as when the first car came off the assembly line at the beginning of the last century. And we’ve got to make sure Michigan is at the forefront,” Peters says.
The senator adds that a larger fleet of autonomous vehicles will make the nation’s highways safer.
Experts say most fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. are the result of driver error.