A U.S. House panel will vote this Wednesday, July 19 on a proposal to allow automakers to release up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles onto the road. The measure would allow automakers to sell self-driving cars that have been proven to "function as intended and contain fail safe features" without being burdened by either additional driverless car rules at the state level or a duty to meet existing auto safety standards.

The move, if it is successful, will be the first major federal legislation designed to hasten self-driving cars to market. It would not require pre-market approval of self-driving technologies, although it would require automakers to submit safety assessment reports to federal regulators.

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In other words, the technology would need to be proven safe initially through safety reports, but self-driving cars would not be lost in a thicket of state regulations. States could also still set rules on insurance, liability, licensing, registration, and safety inspections, but could not individually set performance standards for self-driving cars.This proposal is a recognition of the urgency of getting self-driving cars on our roads. US road deaths rose to 35,200 in 2015, a whopping 7.7 percent higher than the previous year, the biggest jump in a single year since 1966. Self-driving cars will save lives, as experts acknowledge, and this is the underlying motivation of the measure.

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