Last month, Michigan passed a bill that would allow trucks to travel in electronically synchronized groups or “platooning.” This bill has now been signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder at the Automotive Hall of Fame last Friday. The bill also includes legalization of testing self-driving cars without a supervising human in the driver’s seat, and without human driving interfaces such as a steering wheel and brake pedal. Ride-sharing services are also allowed to deploy self-driving cars to their customers once they are tested and certified.
This makes Michigan the first state to welcome self-driving cars onto their streets with laws that enable their testing, use, and eventual sale upon certification.
Michigan has taken upon itself to cradle the advancement of the self-driving vehicle industry. The state is currently developing a 335-acre self-driving vehicle research and testing site. There is already a 32-acre site, called Mcity, in the North Campus of the University of Michigan that has been dedicated as a test facility for running automated vehicles. Unsurprisingly, several automated car makers have chosen to set camp in the state.
However, although this is a big win for the self-driving car industry, manufacturers are still advocating for a unified set of regulations to be drafted by the federal government, rather than inconsistent and varying laws per state.