The House Just Passed a Bill to Help Put More Autonomous Cars on U.S. Roads

If it passes the Senate, companies like GM, Ford, and Google will be able to roll 100,000 self-driving cars out onto U.S. roads.

9. 6. 17 by Kyree Leary
Waymo
Image by Waymo

More Cars on the Road

The U.S. House passed a bill on Wednesday that will allow self-driving car manufacturers to put thousands of autonomous cars on the road over the next few years.

The bill, known as the SELF-DRIVE Act, was first put forth in July and received approval shortly after. In addition to letting companies like GM, Ford, and Google introduce up to 100,000 cars to U.S. roads, they can also be exempt from safety guidelines that do not apply to autonomous driving technology.

In the past, companies invested in the future of self-driving cars have complained that laws created in relation to the technology could slow down its development. This latest bill, then, works in their favor.

Not everyone supports the bill, however: state and local officials have said they’re being passed over in favor of the federal government, which will have sole authority to control how autonomous cars are designed. That said, it would still be up to individual states to allow (or prohibit) self-driving cars on their roads.

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According to Recode, consumer groups such as the Consumers Union wanted stronger safety regulations applied to self-driving cars. The group also expressed concerns about the tech’s impact on jobs — specifically those of truck drivers.

The bill hasn’t become law yet, as it still needs to make its way through the Senate. If it does, it will push us one step closer to life with autonomous cars. While some have argued they may pose a threat to our driving abilities, autonomous cars have also been heralded as the key to reducing traffic jams and accidents.


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